DARPA requests spaceplane proposals

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The competition heats up: As part of its XS-1 spaceplane development program DARPA this week put out a request for proposals for companies to build an experimental space plane capable of launching 10 times in 10 days for a cost of no more than $5 million.


  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    Why would one need to fly into space ten times in ten days? And do it for $5 million a shot? I don’t think so.

  • Joey Favino

    Typo I’m sure, but “…capable of achieving ten times in ten days…” Capable of achieving what? Successful suborbital trajectory? Refueling? Round trips between North America and, say, Australia? On-way trips? Transporting a specific payload or mass? Please clarify, Bob. Thanks.

  • Joey: Yes, twas a typo. I should have written “capable of launching 10 times in 10 days.”

  • pzatchok

    My real question is.

    Are they just doing this to try to stretch the technological boundaries or do they have a plan for a system like this.

    If they are just pushing limits then its not the right reason. Need dictates design and desire. Its just a waste of time effort and money.

    If they have a plan for this type of system exactly what could it be that a disposable system couldn’t do just as good if not better and cheaper.
    You do not need a reusable space plane to put small sats into orbit.
    As a weapons platform I just cannot see the practical need. Its like asking for a reusable cruse missile.

    And doesn’t the US Airforce already have one of these spaceplanes? And its in operation.

    Or is this just a way to throw government research money at a crony corporation?

  • pzatchok

    Couldn’t Space X just scale down Falcon 9?
    Only lifting about 5,000lbs into orbit max and only use the first stage?
    Maybe only using one or two Merlin engine’s.

    If its small enough it could be launched from an aircraft carrier and landed back on the same ship.

    If they could get it down to about 60 feet long it would fit in the same space as a fighter jet.

    If it could be converted to Jet fuel and LOX then the military wouldn’t even need new fuels.

    We don’t need wings to fly anymore. Plus they just get in the way on a rocket.

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