February 21, 2006 Space Adventures, together with a Singapore-based consortium, announced today that it plans to develop an integrated spaceport in Singapore that will offer suborbital spaceflights, as well as operate astronaut training facilities and a public education and interactive visitor center. It is the second spaceport announced by Space Adventures in the last week, the other to be located in Dubai. The focal point of the proposed Spaceport Singapore will be suborbital spaceflights. As each suborbital vehicle reaches its maximum altitude of 100 kilometers, passengers will experience up to five minutes of continuous weightlessness, all the while gazing at the blackness of space set against the horizon of Earth. The spaceport will be build in the near vicinity of Changi Airport.
"Singapore is one of the best-connected countries in the world. It is home to one of the world's busiest air and sea ports. Singapore, with its superior geographical and economic infrastructure, is primed to be the hub of a new, revolutionary form of travel - in space," said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, the only company to have sent private citizens to space.
The focal point of the proposed Spaceport Singapore will be suborbital spaceflights. As each suborbital vehicle reaches its maximum altitude of 100 kilometers, passengers will experience up to five minutes of continuous weightlessness, all the while gazing at the blackness of space set against the horizon of Earth.
"Countries around the world are only just realizing the enormous commercial possibilities of space tourism. The market potential for suborbital spaceflights alone is estimated at $1 billion (USD) annually. We are excited at the prospect of launching an integrated facility here in Singapore that will give the world a whole new perspective to space tourism," said Mr. Anderson.
The Singapore Tourism Board has been involved with this project for the past three years, facilitating technical discussions with other agencies required for this project and bridging negotiations over possible land sites.
Lim Neo Chian, deputy chairman and chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, said, "Space Adventures and the consortium have given Singapore a big vote of confidence as a choice tourism investment location. Pending the finalization of funds that are expected in the near future, we are optimistic that Spaceport Singapore will quickly become a reality."
He added, "With the proposed Spaceport Singapore, we now stand at the threshold of an unprecedented opportunity to launch into space practically from our own backyard. In addition, the Spaceport's integrated training, educational and entertainment facilities will open up many exciting experiences for both locals and tourists."
Spaceport Singapore, in addition to providing suborbital spaceflights, will offer a wide range of space and high-altitude experiences for those who wish to experience various aspects of astronaut training. These include parabolic flights that will allow passengers to experience the thrill of weightlessness, G-force training in a centrifuge, and simulated space walks in a neutral buoyancy tank. Visitors can fly in a variety of jet aircraft, enjoy the exhilarating flight simulators and interactive exhibit experiences, or simply learn about the history and technology of space travel.
"This world-class center will provide a mix of commercial, educational and tourist attractions, giving everyone a reason to visit. We identified Singapore as an ideal location for a spaceport as it has the right combination of foresight, entrepreneurialism and technological sophistication to support a project such as this," said Michael Lyon, managing director of the Spaceport Singapore project. "We have met with the relevant agencies, including the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, to begin the process of obtaining the necessary approvals. We are happy that they have been very supportive and have given their commitment to work closely with the consortium to introduce jet fighter, zero-gravity and suborbital spaceflights to the public."
The suborbital space transportation system has been designed by Myasishchev Design Bureau, a leading Russian aerospace organization which has developed a wide-array of high performance aircraft and space systems. Explorer, as it has been named, will have the capacity to transport up to five people to space and is designed to optimize the customer experience of space travel, while maintaining the highest degree of safety. The system consists of a flight-operational carrier aircraft, the M-55X, and a rocket spacecraft.
"Explorer design plans have been perfected over the years and it will be a truly remarkable system. Last week, we announced our fully-funded vehicle development joint venture with Prodea, a private investment firm founded by the Ansari family. Now, the manufacturing process can be completed to build a fleet of these vehicles in the near future," said Mr. Anderson. "We will not disclose the development schedule until it is finalized, but we, at Space Adventures, along with Prodea, have the utmost confidence that through our global vehicle and spaceport development projects, we will enable operations of the world's first commercial suborbital flights."
The estimated cost of Spaceport Singapore is minimum $115 million (USD) and will be partially funded by the private sector, Singapore sources, together with Space Adventures' global spaceport development partner, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. KPMG Corporate Finance in Singapore has also begun to raise the final funds needed.
"The commercial possibilities of space tourism are enormous. We are tremendously excited about working with Singapore on this innovative project that will bring space tourism to the public," said Nick Marrett, founder of Octtane and member of the consortium. "Singapore will continue its tradition of leading the world as a global transport hub for the 21st century with shipping, aviation and now, space travel."
The consortium supporting Spaceport Singapore is a combination of commercial, research, entertainment and tourist interests. Along with Space Adventures, is Octtane Pte, Batey Pte Ltd., Lyon Capital Inc., DP Architects, ST Medical and KPMG Corporate Finance who are all involved with this project.