Skip to comments.XS-1: DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane
Posted on 04/27/2018 11:56:15 PM PDT by BenLurkin
The XS-1 (Experimental Spaceplane 1) is envisioned to heft payloads for less than $5 million a flight, each weighing between 3,000 and 5,000 lbs. (1,360 to 2,267 kilograms). The aircraft-like craft is also supposed to fly faster than Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound.
Tasks for Phase 1 included developing the vehicle, finding and reducing the risk of creating the "core" technologies and processes, and figuring out how to move forward into the flight phase, DARPA said.
"DARPA expects the performers to explore alternative technical approaches from the perspectives of feasibility, performance, system design and development cost and operational cost. They must also assess potential suitability for near-term transition opportunities to military, civil and commercial users," the agency wrote.
The program entered Phase 2 in 2016. In 2017, DARPA selected Boeing to build and test the XS-1. "The XS-1 would be neither a traditional airplane nor a conventional launch vehicle but rather a combination of the two, with the goal of lowering launch costs by a factor of ten and replacing today's frustratingly long wait time with launch on demand,"
Rapid turnarounds will require using some technology that is already in place on military aircraft, DARPA stated, such as "easily accessible subsystem components" that engineers can take out quickly for maintenance and repairs. The XS-1 will also use some known systems, such as the Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-22 engine that is a version of the space shuttle's main engine.
XS-1 will also have a share of innovative technologies. These include extremely lightweight propellant tanks to hold liquid oxygen and liquid oxygen, hybrid composite-metallic wings and surfaces that are capable of surviving multiple re-entries, and some autonomous flight capabilities.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
This image, taken from a DARPA presentation, shows several potential designs for the U.S. military's planned XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane, an innovative robotic spacecraft project to launch satellites into orbit cheaply and efficiently.
Now give me money to make it fly.
I doubt you’re going to sling that puppy under a B-1B. In fact air launch is probably not feasible given the fuel load and dead weight of all that. Just strap it to a ballistic missile.
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