DARPA orders spaceplane capable of 10 launches in 10 days

The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has commissioned Boeing to build a spaceplane capable of 10 launches in 10 days.The Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program is designed to give the US the ability to launch stuff fast, in order to “revolutionize the Nation’s ability to recover from a catastrophic loss of military or commercial satellites, upon which the Nation today is critically dependent.”The XS-1 design selected by DARPA will see Boeing construct a spaceplane “roughly the size of a business jet”. The vehicle will take off like a rocket using the Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-22 engine, thruster derived from the Space Shuttle’s main engine. The AR-22 is designed to offer 500,000 lbf of thrust.Once the AR-22 gets the XS-1 to “high suborbital altitude” a rocket that piggybacks the spaceplane will take over and carry a “deploy a 3,000-pound satellite to polar orbit.” The rocket won’t be used again, but the XS-1 will land like a conventional aircraft and be ready for another launch “potentially within hours.”

Source: DARPA orders spaceplane capable of 10 launches in 10 days • The Register

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