HOPE Technik stood out from the big boys and clinched a deal with French aerospace giant Airbus Defence and Space to develop a SpacePlane demonstrator in 2012. The SpacePlane, developed to jet off to the edge of space at an altitude of 100 kilometres above Earth can provide travellers with the opportunity to experience first-hand the wonders of space.
Under the agreement, engineers at HOPE Technik designed and manufactured the demonstrator plane’s airframe, avionics and user interface, allowing for the testing of the aircraft’s aerodynamics and software systems. With a wingspan of 4 metres, the composite-bodied demonstrator measured 4.6 metres long and 1.5 metres tall. To ensure that the prototype was operationally ready, every aspect of the plane had to go through numerous rounds of measurements and testing with absolute precision.
After 27 months of long hours and hard work, the SpacePlane demonstrator went on its maiden test flights in May 2014. With support from Singapore Economic Development Board, the launch test took place 100 kilometres off the coast of Singapore and involved a fleet of seven ships. The SpacePlane demonstrator validated the dynamic flight conditions encountered in the end-of-flight phase following a return from space.