Reusable spaceplane tops DARPA’s budget request, again | SpaceNews.com
WASHINGTON — For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s top-funded space program is an experimental spaceplane intended to make frequent trips to orbit.
DARPA asked for $50 million in the Pentagon’s 2017 budget request for its Experimental Spaceplane 1, or XS-1 program. That’s up from a $30 million the agency asked for during the fiscal year 2016 budget cycle.
XS-1 aims to develop a reusable first stage that could carry an expendable upper stage capable of placing payloads weighing up to 1,800 kilograms into orbit. DARPA said the vehicle could ultimately fly 10 times in 10 days and boost payloads into low Earth orbit for less than $5 million per launch.
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