E C L I P S E A S T R O L I N E R
Flight Crew: 2
Max Speed: Mach 9.2* / 6,136 mph (9,879 kph)
Max Altitude: 100 miles (184 km)
Minutes of Zero Gravity: 5+
*Mach calculated at sea level.
Hitching a ride to space.
E C L I P S E
A S T R O L I N E R
The Kelly Space &Technology Astroliner is a highly robust two-stage reusable launch vehicle
(RLV) system. The piloted Astroliner is designed to provide extremely safe, highly reliable
transportation to space in a fashion that is comparable with commercial airline practices. The
Astroliner can easily serve space tourism and satellite launch markets thereby increasing
operational reliability, experience and reduced flight and ticket costs.
The Eclipse Astroliner flight profile: The Astroliner system is towed aloft to an altitude of approximately
20,000 feet (6,096 m) from commercial runways using a commercial transport class aircraft as the towing
aircraft. Tow-to-launch is a patented technique developed and demonstrated by Kelly Space that enables
much less expensive and safer space transportation. When at its launch altitude and proper geographic
location, the Astroliner's powerful rocket propulsion system is ignited and the vehicle is released from tow.
The Astroliner then ascends, ceasing rocket engine operation as it passes through an altitude of
approximately 60 miles (96.6 km) coasting thereafter to its maximum altitude of approximately 100 miles
(161 km). It is during this latter moment of powered rocket flight/coast phase that a second stage is released
which proceeds on into orbit, carrying either cargo, or in the future, passengers traveling to orbital
destinations. Retrorockets are operated to orient the Astroliner ballistic re-entry back into and through the
atmosphere. After slowing, and when at an altitude of about 25,000 feet (7,620 m), the Astroliner's jet
engines are started and the vehicle proceeds to land on a standard commercial runway.