Boeing has decided to no longer continue development of an experimental suborbital spaceplane for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the latest setback for DARPA’s long-running efforts in space access.
A government-industry team announced July 10 they successfully completed a series of 10 test firings over 10 days of a shuttle-era engine intended for use on a reusable suborbital spaceplane.
A space shuttle-era main engine is undergoing a series of daily test firings to demonstrate its suitability for use on a reusable spaceplane under development.
Boeing, DARPA will base XS-1 experimental spaceplane at Cape Canaveral when it begins testing in a few years
The XS-1 vehicle, known as Phantom Express, will launch vertically from an unspecified pad at Cape Canaveral and make a landing at one of two runways there.
For decades, U.S. government agencies, both civil and military, have sought to develop a reusable launch vehicle (RLV), seeing it as a critical tool for lowering the cost of space access. The space shuttle is the best known such effort, but it’s hardly the only one: the National Aerospace Plane, Delta Clipper, X-33, X-34 and Space Launch Initiative all tried to develop reusable launchers — and all failed.