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Startup Exodus Space Corp. plans to build a space plane to ferry cargo around Earth. Eventually, that cargo could include people, if the spacecraft is deemed safe enough.
The spaceship — called AstroClipper — will take off from a runaway, make a flight into space and then land again, plane-style. A heft booster at the space plane's back end will help it get into orbit by giving AstroClipper the speed it requires to break out of Earth's atmosphere.
Exodus - Money - Team - Experience - Space
Exodus is new and still raising money, but its team includes deep experience across the space industry. Principals at the company have worked at SpaceX, Lockheed Martin and NASA, among others.
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Company - Step - Technology - Demonstrator - Earth
The company's first step is a technology demonstrator in 2022 that would remain within Earth's atmosphere but eventually lead to suborbital and orbital spacecraft. The eventual dream, in the 2030s, would be carrying passengers if Exodus can get the necessary human-rating regulations achieved.
"This has been a very private project that was in the works for the last 10 years," Exodus CEO Miguel Alaya told Space.com. "It was not all full-time, but just an ongoing process. Since last year, we have put together a strong leadership team to commercialize this intellectual property."
Focus - Passengers - Exodus - Concept - Track
He added that the focus on human passengers will come only after Exodus feels confident it can launch reliably and regularly. "Once our concept is well understood and we have a strong track record of success, we will start focusing on human-related applications," he said.
Exodus has filed for patents and the company is now asking for an undisclosed amount of money. The first test vehicle, called AstroClipper Pico, will launch a drone-size craft to 6 miles (10 kilometers) in altitude to make sure the technology works. If all the funding and development goes to plan, Pico should fly...
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