"Previous attempts to develop a reusable launch vehicle have failed, the agency acknowledges, arguing that the late-1980s X-30 and late-1990s X-33 VentureStar never flew because the designs were technically unachievable with the technology available at the time," writes Graham Warwick.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (Darpa) plans to develop a reusable-spaceplane launch vehicle with its new Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program.
However, the goal of the program is not to develop a vehicle exclusively for the U.S. armed services.
"In addition to enabling lower-cost, more responsive launches of U.S. government satellites, Darpa sees the reusable first-stage technology to be demonstrated under the XS-1 program as key to recapturing a commercial launch market lost to foreign competitors," Graham Warwick writes for Aviation Week.
Read the complete article, "Darpa Targets Lower Launch Costs With XS-1 Spaceplane" at Aviation Week, IndustryWeek's sister publication.