Swiss Space Systems Will Put Your Satellite Into Orbit For US$10,000,000
The regular price of launching a satellite on top of a rocket is about US$50 million, but the Swiss Space Systems (S3), a new aerospace firm, promises to put any satellite up to 250 kilograms (551 lbs) into space just for US$10.6 million using an airliner and an unmanned shuttle. A satellite would be carried within a shuttle, mounted on the back of the commercial aircraft certified for zero gravity flights, Airbus A300. The A300 can take off from any runway capable of accommodating it, thus multiple spaceports could be established in a variety of locations around the world. The airliner would release the shuttle at an altitude of 10,000 meters (32,808 feet), which would then come up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) and the satellite would be launched from its cargo bay. The satellite’s upper stage engine would take it into orbit from there, while the shuttle would return back to the spaceport for reuse. Important is that the system would require considerably less fuel than conventional rocket launches. By 2015 the S3 plans to open the first spaceport in the Swiss city of Payerne and the first launches are scheduled for the end of 2017.