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Commercial space 'aircraft' to be available 'within 10 years'

By Abdul Nisar

London, Sep 17 (ANI): A commercial aircraft that can take passengers to space could probably be a reality within a decade, British scientists believe.

Engineers have developed the new 700-million-pound 'Skylon spaceplane', which can travel at more than five times the speed of sound.

The unpiloted craft, which can take off from an airport runway, has no external rockets and two engines use hydrogen and oxygen to propel it more than 18 miles into space.

Officials from the UK Space Agency believe that new technology can revolutionize space travel and significantly cut its cost and believe it could one day replace Nasa's Space Shuttle to transport up to 12 tonnes of cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station.

The craft has been developed by the Oxfordshire-based Reaction Engines with support from the new space agency.

"Access to space is extraordinarily expensive, yet there's no law of physics that says it has to be that way. We just need to prove it's viable. The simple truth is that the Earth is part of a much bigger system," the Telegraph quoted Richard Varvill, one of the founders of Reaction Engines as telling to The Engineer magazine.

"We're talking a bit of science fiction now, but in theory there's nothing that stops you going out (into space)," he added.

Officials will now meet at a special two-day workshop, which will investigate how it can be developed commercially. (ANI)

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