Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Betting on EADS Spaceplane

Prices are steady, with buyers hedging their bets on whether EADS Astrium will finally begin testing their long-promised space plane. On the PPX (Popular Science "PopSci Predictions Exchange") will pay off $100 at an unchanged price of $37.50 for those willing to take the risk.

The initial push for tourist rockets may have come from scrappy startups, but major aerospace players are beginning to take note. In June, after Boeing released its design for a small tourist spaceship, Europe's aerospace leader, EADS (the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company), threw its hat into the ring.

The concept spacecraft, a modified business jet, borrows heavily from players like Rocketplane Kistler. But while the diminutive Rocketplane is courting bankruptcy, EADS has some $54 billion in revenue at its disposal along with a workforce more than 100,000 strong.

EADS is already in talks with owner-operators about preordering the spacecraft. If that financing comes through, EADS says it could launch flights as early as 2012. With consumer interest steadily growing, and billions in backing, can the massive European company succeed where others are failing?

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