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RubiconTM Suborbital Tourism Vehicle

The Suborbital Tourism Vehicle (STV), dubbed "Rubicon", is designed to carry 600 pounds (three people) to a 100-km (62-mile) altitude. The view from this height is like the one from the International Space Station. Development is under way for the vehicle.

The STC Suborbital Tourism Vehicle (STV) was inspired by the X Prize competition (see www.xprize.org). The world is primed for the upcoming wave of manned space flight.

Two important features of STC's Rubicon concept are:

- Simple operation -- liftoff directly from the ground and recovery by parachute, and

- In-house main propulsion development -- intimacy with the main propulsion systems is advantageous

Power is provided by seven identical solid rocket engines ? each is 12 inches in diameter and approximately 10 feet long. Six of the engines are in a ring configuration around the seventh central engine. For liftoff, four engines will be ignited. After first stage burnout, the two remaining outer engines will be fired for a second stage. The central engine is fired alone for the third stage. The vehicle is almost completely reusable ? the engines are cleaned and repacked for the next flight. The vehicle?s Attitude Control System (ACS) consists of attitude/position sensing equipment, compressed air jets to provide attitude adjustment as requested by the electronics. Loaded and fueled, the vehicle will weigh approximately 5500 lbs and stand 23 feet high.

Rubicon is named after a small river in northern Italy which was crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 BC. Casear broke a long-standing tradition by this historic "crossing of the Rubicon" with his army. STC's Rubicon project is also on target to break a tradition -- the tradition of government-only human space flight. Rubicon will take part in making privately-funded space travel a reality. STC doesn't exactly have an army and, fortunately, governments are encouraging this activity, so STC expects governments of the 21st century to be much happier about the development than the Roman Senate was about Caesar's move back in 49 BC. With this project, "the die is cast" for a new wave of space development.

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