Thursday, 8 November 2012


A passenger-carrying reusable SSTO VTOL rocket designed to carry 50 passengers to 200 km Earth orbit started as part of a study program by the Japanese Rocket Society. Since none of the space agencies of the world were studying how to make launch services available to the general public, the JRS started a Space Tourism Study Program in 1993, with the objective of getting the price of a flight to orbit down to around $10,000 per passenger. Work on Kankoh-maru has grown steadily in depth and breadth ever since, and has helped to accelerate the acceptance of space tourism as the direction for space development work today.
Based loosely on earlier designs such as the " Phoenix", the design has been described in a number of publications (many by Isozaki), and is currently being further refined in the third phase of the JRS study (See: The JRS Space Tourism Study Program Phase 2).
(In Japanese, "Kankoh" means tourism, and "Maru" means circle, symbol of Japan. Most ships are called "Something-Maru" so Kankoh-maru means roughly "SS Tourism". In 1852 the Dutch government gave the Japanese government its first modern ship, a steam and sail-powered ship. This was called " Kankoh-maru", though at that time the implication of the name is said to have been more nearly "Light of the Nation".)

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