Forget Space Ship 2! We have Enterprise...


Multiuniversal creator
13 February 2006
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Well, I´m happy that now we the first realistic european alternative - spaceplane Enterprise with first planned commercial flight in 2010!


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I was talking about that one, which have enough technical AND financial background to really materialize.

HOTOL - very sophisticated project, funded nearly only by Britain, that need billion of GBP and at best 20 years to be flight ready

Hermes - we all know how it ended

Sanger II - aerospaceplane is not realistic for a loooong time in any part of the world

Skylon - the same as HOTOL

Cosmopolis - who is going to fund Myasischev, etc. etc. etc.

Just remember how optimistic Starchaser project looked, but they are now years behind schedule and I am not 100 % sure, if they ever do manned space mission. All I am saying is that Enterprise is the first european reusable "space"craft (or better suborbitalcraft) with sufficient technical background, enough money and without huge and unreallistic goals.
Matej said:
All I am saying is that Enterprise is the first european reusable "space"craft (or better suborbitalcraft) with sufficient technical background, enough money and without huge and unreallistic goals.

it looks like just another one of the low-rent early X-Prize competitors to me... not terribly realistic. The website only shows some promo art of a design that does not appear to be all that well engineered or thought out (looks more like a graphic artist designed it than engineers). And of the consortium members... what experience is there in building and flying advanced aircraft?

SS2 seems vastly more realistic.
I know that now it is only my estimation, but I based it on talking with some people, not on that web presentation. I am not arguing about SS2, it is highly probable, that it will be the first commercial reusable spaceship.

But. Dont create your opinion on that pictures - they are only illustrations "to show something". I clearly remember how Space Ship 1 looked on hand made scatches, before it was officially revealed. Also - the project members have enough experience to build usable rocket propulsion system and pack it into advanced plane. This is what I was speaking about - they are not going to build 100 passanger aerospaceplane to fly to the trip to Moon with budget of 1000 Eur. They have clear and realistic (achievable) goals to do only what is necessary and their product is designed for practical using - it will not be only some sort of engineering exercise.

And the most important aspect - they have enough money for basic development BEFORE the project started, not AFTER it started. This means, that they are not depending on collection of additional funding from investors like other projects. From this all I can see a lot of similarities with SS1, so I am in the conviction that it will be the first european reusable spaceship, that will really achieve space.
Does any one have any current info on Project Enterprise? I'm struggling to find any web info that isn't in German (I'm afraid languages were never my strong point :()
Sorry, I was slightly premature! Now found this interview recorded at Space Access a year ago

Any more info still appreciated though.
The Project Enterprise web-site (it appears to be German only) is now at

I've seen a quote that - not surprisingly - the project is finding it difficult to obtain significant funding. According to the World Space Programs & Projects presentation at Space Access 2010 there is collaboration with a Malaysian group and the project is preparing for an IPO. If the IPO report is correct I don't see how there's sufficient progress to attract investors, especially as no-one (not even Virgin) has yet proved that space tourism is a viable business.

On the technical front the project plans to develop two rocket powered spaceplanes (from the project's factsheet):

  • Black Sky: two seat - one pilot, one passenger - research and experimental aircraft to support the development of the second plane. Expected max altitude of 35km. Length of 9m, wingspan of 7m and 3.2t weight. Powered by 3 LOX/Keresone rocket engines of 10,000N thrust each.
  • Enterprise: seven seat - one pilot, six passengers - aircraft. Expected max altitude of 110km. Length of 25m, wingspan of 15m and 20t weight. Powered by 3 LOX/Keresone rocket engines of 70,000N thrust each.

Flight profile diagram below. There is also a new interior design for the vehicle (couple of pictures attached - note very large windows).

Project video - mainly an animation, but at times overlaid on filmed background - is at:


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For the technical part Swiss Propulsion Laboratory for the rocket engine and Xtreme Air for the airframe.

SPL is a small organization, academic/volunteer/small business AFAIK. They have fired multiple liquid rocket engines. They even had some work on turbopumps.
Xtreme Air makes aerobatic planes.

At some point a testbed concept was shown with a rocket attached to the tail of a normal aerobatic plane, the piston engine was retained.

The interview on flight global is a bit awkward but there is some good info there.
It seems that Project Enterprise was planning to market itself through the web-site However that site now seems slightly older than the Talis one, indeed the root page re-directs to Talis, but it has some information about a different - presumably earlier - Black Sky concept.

mz said:
At some point a testbed concept was shown with a rocket attached to the tail of a normal aerobatic plane, the piston engine was retained.

According to the above website it was called the Xtreme Black Sky (small pictures attached). This is described as a modified propeller-driven aircraft, with an additional LOX/Kerosene rocket motor that is ignited once airborne. It says there's a special folding propeller design and flights can reach 25 km height. The plane is based on the Xtreme3042 (a two-seat aerobatic aircraft) of the project partner XtremeAir.


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For completeness, here are the remaining non-thumbnail sized Project Enterprise pics I've found. Also one correction - the picture I previously posted labelled 'Enterpise level flight.jpg' is in fact of Black Sky - oops!


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