XS-1: DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane

Space.com | 4/27/2018 | Staff
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The XS-1 is a space plane under development by the U.S. military's high-tech agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The major goal of the project is to reuse the spacecraft frequently, with a proposed launch rate of 10 one-day missions in just 10 days. In May 2017, DARPA selected Boeing as the provider for phases 2 and 3. Test fights are scheduled for 2020.

The XS-1 (Experimental Spaceplane 1) is envisioned to heft payloads for less than $5 million a flight, each weighing between 3,000 and 5,000 lbs. (1,360 to 2,267 kilograms). The aircraft-like craft is also supposed to fly faster than Mach 10, or 10 times the speed of sound.

Technologies - Program - Space - Launch - Capabilities

"Technologies derived from the XS-1 program will enable routine space launch capabilities with aircraft-like cost, operability and reliability," read a DARPA announcement from November 2013 cited in a 2014 Space.com article.

On April 27, 1961, NASA launched Explorer 11, a satellite that contained the first gamma ray telescope to go to space. This marked the birth of space-based gamma ray astronomy. Gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation and have the highest energy of any kind of wave in the electromagnetic spectrum. These waves come from things like supernova explosions, supermassive black holes, and even solar flares. Before Explorer 11 launched to look for gamma rays in space, scientists were pretty sure that gamma rays were out there. However, they had to way of detecting these gamma rays, because they get absorbed in Earth's atmosphere. Explorer 11 detected 22 cosmic gamma rays during its seven-month mission. These rays were coming from all over the place and didn't seem to point to any particular sources out in space. This observation became the first evidence of a uniform gamma-ray background in the universe.

Intent - Technologies

"The long-term intent is for XS-1 technologies to...
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