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    Boeing Awarded Contract to Design US Plane Capable of Space Flight - Pentagon

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    Boeing Corporation will complete advanced designs for an experimental space plane, the DARPA said in a press release on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US-based contractor Boeing Corporation will complete advanced designs for an experimental space plane that would be capable of reaching low Earth orbit, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said in a press release on Wednesday.

    "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," DARPA Program Manager Jess Sponable stated.

    The XS-1 program envisions a fully reusable unmanned vehicle, roughly the size of a business jet, which would take off vertically like a rocket and fly to hypersonic speeds, the release noted.

    Upon reaching a high suborbital altitude, the booster would release an expendable upper stage able to deploy a 3,000-pound satellite to polar orbit.

    The release offered no timetable for the jet’s completion but disclosed plans to conduct 10 flight tests in 10 days to demonstrate the technology, with the final flight carrying an orbital payload.


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