Steve Bennett, chief executive of Starchaser Industries, won a $200,000 European Space Agency [ESA] contract about one year ago to submit an analysis of the proposed Thunderstar Starchaser 5 [animation video] rocket and to develop a business plan on the sustainability of space tourism. The proposed capsule would aloft one pilot and two passengers on suborbital spaceflights. The capsule would return by parachute [animation video].
"It became clear that New Mexico may not be the optimum location from which to conduct Starchaser operations," Bennett noted in an e-Mail to a reporter. "Launch location offers from Florida, as well as Europe, are therefore under consideration as possible alternatives."
Only 18-months ago, Starchaser had indicated that it would construct a "Rocket City" and spaceflight training facility in Southern New Mexico.
In November 2001, Starchaser successfully launched the 12-m tall Nova, which included a one-person crew cabin [Video 1 and 2].