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Space hub dream for RAK
March 2006 281

SPACE Adventures, the only company to have successfully launched private explorers to space, has announced today its plans to develop a commercial spaceport in the UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah, with plans to expand globally.

Other potential spaceport locations include Asia, specifically Singapore, and North America. The total estimated cost of the global spaceport development project is at least $265 million and will be funded by various parties, along with shared investments by Space Adventures and the government of Ras Al-Khaimah.
The company, which organized orbital flights for all of the world's private space explorers, also announces that Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi of Ras Al-Khaimah, along with the UAE Department of Civilian Aviation, have granted clearance to operate suborbital spaceflights in their air space.
The UAE spaceport, planned to be located less than an hour drive from Dubai, already has commitments for $30 million. “I am proud to announce Ras Al Khaimah as the site where suborbital commercial space travel will begin and flourish. Space Adventures is the pioneer of space tourism, which is why we signed an agreement with them nearly a year ago and began this project. After we initiate operations here, we look forward to expanding operations outside of the UAE,” said Sheikh Saud.
Geographically, Ras Al Khaimah is a great location and in close proximity to one of the largest tourist destinations, Dubai, says Space Adventures’ Stacey Tearne. “Sheikh Saud is very committed to commercializing space travel. The market potential for suborbital spaceflights alone is estimated at $1 billion annually.”
There are no immediate plans for orbital flights out of Ras Al Khaimah, says Tearne. It is likely to cost a tourist $102,000 for a suborbital flight where he can experience weightlessness and see the earth from space. Together with a Singapore-based consortium, Space Adventures will also develop an integrated spaceport in Singapore.
Like the Ras Al Khaimah port, the focal point of the proposed Spaceport Singapore will be suborbital spaceflights.
The space transportation system in both places has been designed by Russia’s Myasishchev Design Bureau. Explorer, as it has been named, will have the capacity to transport up to five people to space.




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