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Capsule to send Singaporean to near-space unveiled

Singapore: A Singapore company's project to send the first Singaporean to near-space touched a major milestone Saturday, with the unveiling of the space capsule.IN.Genius hopes to launch a pilot in a helium stratospheric balloon craft
IANS November 01, 2014 20:13 IST
IANS

Singapore: A Singapore company's project to send the first Singaporean to near-space touched a major milestone Saturday, with the unveiling of the space capsule.

IN.Genius hopes to launch a pilot in a helium stratospheric balloon craft into near-space, more than 20 km above sea level, according to media reports.

Coming soon after a Virgin Galactic rocket ship's crash in the US Friday, IN.Genius stressed the "over-designed" safety aspects of its own vessel, and the lower risk of the project.

The company's founder and director, Lim Seng, said in the unveiling event at Resorts World Sentosa here that the use of a balloon instead of rockets to launch the Singapore craft lessened the danger.

"We've also put in redundancy upon redundancy in the craft, and exceeded the safety requirements by nine times, to make sure the space capsule is as safe as it can be," he was quoted by The Straits Times as saying.

The capsule is two metres by two metres by three metres and weighs 400 kg without a pilot. It consists of a pressurised aluminium vessel, a steel outer frame with a fibre-glass shell, and crush pads.

The pads alone are made of a 10-inch thick cell-paper honeycomb and a base of Kevlar, and can withstand up to 40 g-forces to provide shock absorption during landing.

Twelve pilot candidates have been chosen from more than 150 applicants.

The Virgin Galactic passenger spaceship crashed during a test flight Friday near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.