This is a Crew Space Transportation System concept from an Italian Aerospace Research Center, aka CIRA, presentation and shows a biconic capsule-like design at the bottom of the picture highlighted by a red circle
Speaking to a Thales Alenia Space manager the other week about CSTS and other matters I was told that biconic was still in the trade space. But can anyone guess what the conical capsule is that is attached to what looks like the International Space Station’s Node 3 but with a very odd looking docking system – could it be ATLAS? For the space tourism stuff, click on…
This space tourism vehicle is based on CIRA’s Unmanned Space Vehicle (USV)-X that is to be launched by the European Space Agency’s largely Italian funded solid rocket Vega, the maiden flight for which will be in 2009.
Few details are available of this tourism vehicle but as well as the hatch and the windows the rocket nozzle at the back of the space tourism USV could be either another solid rocket, similar to the Vega propulsion technology or could be a liquid motor
And the engine between the twin fins I would imagine is a ram or scramjet for powered flight at high Mach numbers either going up, if it is supposed to be a single stage to suborbit vehicle, or for use on the way down; if there is a separate first-stage not visible in this picture