Inside the Astrium spacejet

Astrium's stunning "spacejet" concept

September 2007

Forget about being blasted off from a spaceport or dropped from a mother ship. Imagine a private spacecraft that can take off from a conventional runway, blast into space and then land just like a normal plane.

That's the promise from French space company Astrium which has unveiled a revolutionary space jet at a special VIP event in Paris ahead of the Le Bourget Airshow.

Guests at the Paris event were shown a full sized mock-up of the forward section of the revolutionary four-passenger, rocket-equipped jet which blasts space tourists to an altitude of 60 miles (100 kilometers) in minutes.

Astrium's vision of sending paying passengers into space on board conventional-style jet aircraft is one that many people can relate to.