EADS Astrium and Singapore will collaborate on development of an unpowered scaled prototype version of the Astrium suborbital spaceplane and use it for drop tests: EADS Astrium To Develop Spaceplane – Aviation Week.
> But even though the program has yet to be launched, the company is proceeding with building the demonstrator, which will be about 3-4 meters long, with a comparable wingspan, Laporte-Weywada says. Building and testing the demonstrator will take 18 months, he says. The real spaceplane, meanwhile, will be much larger and will have a maximum takeoff weight of about 20 tons, he adds.
Developing and building the demonstrator in Singapore means some of the demonstrator flights will occur there. For example, there will be one flight in which a helicopter will lift the demonstrator about 3 km. off the ground and then drop it to see how it glides. Other demonstrator flights will involve balloon drops from higher altitudes, but these are likely to be done elsewhere due to Singapore’s limited airspace.