DARPA Looking to Develop Unmanned Space Plane For Satellite Launches
September 18, 2013 2:27 PM
comment(s) - last by
DARPA's goal is to cut costs and increase convenience
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
is looking to create an unmanned vehicle for satellite launches that is faster, cheaper and more convenient than existing systems.
To do this, DARPA has introduced the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program, which encourages the development of a fully reusable unmanned vehicle that would launch satellites into space. It would look, act, and cost more like a traditional plane.
Current satellite launch technologies can cost hundreds of millions of dollars per flight, and can only fly a few times per year. To top it off, they typically require years of advanced scheduling.
“We want to build off of proven technologies to create a reliable, cost-effective space delivery system with one-day turnaround,” said Jess Sponable, DARPA program manager heading XS-1. “How it’s configured, how it gets up and how it gets back are pretty much all on the table—we’re looking for the most creative yet practical solutions possible.”
The idea behind XS-1 is to have a vehicle that can operate from a clean pad, use only a small ground crew, and eliminate the need for costly specialized infrastructure.
Also ideal for XS-1 is a reusable first stage that would achieve hypersonic speeds at a suborbital altitude, and at that point, one or more expendable upper stages would detach and deploy a satellite into Low Earth Orbit. The reusable hypersonic aircraft would then make its way back to earth and be prepared for the next flight.
The rapid turnaround between flights could be done through modular components, durable thermal protection systems and automatic launch/flight/recovery systems.
DARPA's goal is to develop a vehicle capable of flying 10 times in 10 days; reaching speeds of Mach 10+ at least once; launching a representative payload to orbit, and reducing the costs for small payloads by at least a factor of 10 to less than $5 million per flight.
Think you have what it takes to create what DARPA is looking for? The agency is holding an XS-1 Proposers’ Day on Monday, October 7, 2013. You must
register to enter
, and registration closes October 1.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: In other words
9/20/2013 5:21:01 PM
But, if you are using a Ramjet engine to get to the launch altitude of 50,000ft you no longer need to carry as much oxidizer which will save some of the weight needed. Not that it will be a huge weight savings, but any reduction in needed weight is a plus.
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
5 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Pressure By Monique C. Bethell, Ph.D.
August 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
5 Healthy and Creative ways to add Fiber to your Diet By Monique C. Bethell, Ph.D.
August 18, 2016, 7:43 AM
Wearable Technology for Peanut Allergy Sufferers: By Monique Bethell Ph.D.
August 17, 2016, 6:40 AM
Diuretics: Helpful or Harmful?
August 2, 2016, 10:29 PM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Most Popular Articles
Say Goodbye to Data Plans - Sprint and T-Mobile offer Unlimited Data
August 22, 2016, 6:12 AM
2 NEW PlayStation 4 Models - Unveiling September 7th
August 23, 2016, 6:23 AM
Uber - Everyone's Autonomous Car Driver?
August 20, 2016, 6:01 AM
iPhones May Get Curved Screens Next Year
August 24, 2016, 6:45 AM
Lenovo vs. Asus vs. HP - Best Laptop Under $500.00
August 19, 2016, 4:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Coming Soon - Drones and Airports
Aug 24, 2016, 12:40 PM
SolarCity’s Gigafactory: A Milesone in Emerging Technology by Lily Emamian - 15 August 2016
Aug 15, 2016, 6:30 AM
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information