DARPA picks Boeing to build a test design of an air-launched satellite launcher.


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The competition heats up: DARPA has chosen Boeing to build a test design of an air-launched satellite launcher.

This engineering research is in parallel with the airborne launcher research of Scaled Composites (on SpaceShipTwo) and Stratolauncher. When you add SpaceX’s effort to make its first stage reusable, you get a real sense where the future of rocket design is heading: rockets in which the first stage is entirely reusable, returning safely to Earth either by a horizontal or vertical landing.

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One comment

  • Pzatchok

    How long is the satellite expected to be in use after orbital insertion?

    The US military already has a tested a system using normal ballistic launch vehicles for replacing GPS and communications satellites over a battle field in case an enemy takes out the ones we already have in place.

    Granted they only last a few months at most.

    We have had air launched anti satellite systems tested and working for years. All we need do is replace the warheads with satellites.

    It sounds like they gave a contract to a company with years of experience building anti satellite systems already.
    No one else had a chance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASM-135_ASAT

    It only carried a 14 Kg payload but was tested successfully several times.
    With modern electronics reducing the carried weight. and the fact it no longer needs targeting systems I bet it could be modified to fit a 40kg payload easy.

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