The company Space Operations Inc (SOI) based near Huntsville, Alabama announces plans to launch the Eclipse, a manned spacecraft based on the Gemini capsule: Space Operations, Inc. Announces First Orbital Manned Commercial Spacecraft Operational By 2012 – Space Operations/PRNewswire (via spacetoday.net).
CEO Craig Russell is also president of the Americans in Orbit (AIO-50) program in Huntsville. The Gemini IR (Improved Reusable) that AIO has been developing for a launch on February 20th, 2012, the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s first flight, must be the same vehicle mentioned in the announcement above. No word, though, on whether AIO-50 and/or SOI have raised the $70M they need to pay for the spacecraft development and for a ride on a Falcon 9 launcher. There must also be some complications involved in separating the not-for-profit AIO-50 from the for-profit SOI.
Here’s a promotional video for AIO-50: