Rocketplane Limited, Inc. is an aerospace design and development company headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with facilities in Guthrie, Oklahoma and Burns Flat, Oklahoma. Rocketplane is currently building and planning to operate the Rocketplane XP spaceplane for space tourism purposes with plans to fly in 2007. For a price of about $200,000, passengers will be able to purchase one ticket for a seat on a suborbital flight, including 4 minutes of weightlessness and an apogee of over 100 kilometers altitude. The company is also working on other projects that they expect to be highly profitable.
Rocketplane Limited, Inc. was incorporated under the laws of the state of Oklahoma on July 16, 2001. The corporationís founders envisioned building a rocketplane that would send passengers more than 330,000 feet above the Earth. In 2004, Rocketplane was designated a Qualified Space Transportation Provider by the State of Oklahoma under the guidelines specified in SB 817. With this designation, the State of Oklahoma awarded to Rocketplane re-sellable tax credits which were used to initiate operations, develop facilities, and recruit the required engineering staff.
Rocketplane Limited, Inc. is not the same company as Pioneer Rocketplane. Pioneer still exists on paper, but is no longer operating. Rocketplane Limited owns the intellectual property of Pioneer, but none of the principals of Pioneer, including its founder, work for Rocketplane Limited at this time.
Acquisition of Kistler Aerospace
George French, CEO of Rocketplane, announced on February 27, 2006 that he was purchasing Kistler Aerospace for an undisclosed sum. Kistler Aerospace designed and began construction of the K-1, a fully reusable two-stage to orbit launcher, but filed for bankruptcy before the vehicle could be completed. French intends to use the K-1 to bid for commercial crew and cargo resupply contracts to the International Space Station under the NASA COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) program.