European manned spaceship shown off in Berlin – Patrick Moore still in with a chance before he dies


It’s only a prototype, but the new EADS Astrium design here is based on the existing unmanned Jules Verne pod already flying about up there, so it could easily take scientists and paying billionaires up into the ionosphere with a bit of tweaking.

Very handy if you’ve recently applied to be an astronaut or are just generally excited about space things…

EADS wants "production line" of space planes! Crack out the silver tracksuit – we will be in space soon

EADS, or the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, has said it can see a day when space travel becomes as routine as paying £17.99 to go via RyanAir to Amsterdam for a three-day stag-do.

“It will develop towards a classical aeronautical business model. Someone will build the planes; somebody will operate them; somebody will sell the tickets; somebody will provide the accommodation – like any tourism,” said Robert Laine, the chief technical officer of the rocket builder. A division of EADS called Astrium, which currently makes the Ariane rocket, reckons it’ll be knocking about 10 “space planes” a year to sell to operators.

Here’s an entirely unrelated photograph of the space shuttle Endeavour in which you can clearly see an astronaut’s iPod through the window:


So hopefully, before we die, we’ll all get…