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The competition heats up: The second phase contracts in the development of a reusable space plane have been awarded by DARPA.
DARPA has awarded $6.5 million each to three companies for developmental design work, including Boeing (in partnership with Blue Origin), Northrop Grumman (in partnership with Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic), and Masten Space Science Systems (in partnership with XCOR Aerospace).
The requirements are that the plane fly 10 times in 10 days, reach Mach 10+, put a 3,000 to 5000 pound payload in orbit, and cost less than $5 million per flight. In this new phase, the companies are to deliver finalized designs by 2016, with prototype development to follow.