Europe’s version of a ‘space taxi’ is prepared to test-launch on February 11 at hypersonic speed from, Kourou, French Guiana. Europe’s space taxi is equipped with hundreds of sensors and other instruments that collect data. According to the Daily Mail, the mission is expected to, “provide vital flight data that could help Europe develop technology for a sample return to mission to Mars, or to return to astronauts from the space stations.” At the moment, the only way to bring the space travelers home is Russia’s Soyuz.
The cost of the IXV space taxi amounts to 150 million euros, it is the size of a car, weighs nearly 2 tons and is set to reach an altitude of roughly 412 km and a speed of 7.5 km/s.
Meanwhile, NASA announced that spaceflight companies Boeing and SpaceX have been selected to build commercial space taxis to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. That means that American crews will have new homegrown rides to launch them into space by 2017.
The two companies were the winners of a deal amounting to a whopping $6.8 billion. Boeing will get $4.2 billion and SpaceX will get $2.6 billion to develop private spaceships.
So, are you ready to venture into space? First, learn how to become an astronaut and then watch this video to learn more about the forthcoming launch of the IXV space taxi.