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DARPA has selected the Boeing Company to complete advanced design work for the Agency’s Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program, which aims to build and fly the first of an entirely new class of hypersonic, suborbital aircraft that would provide short-notice, low-cost access to space.
Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Masten Space Systems have won additional funding from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to continue developing their concepts for the United States military's XS-1 robotic space plane under the program's second phase (Phase 1B).
The launch of the second X37B Space Plane is scheduled for tomorrow. The unique capability of this plane appears to be its ability to return from orbit and land autonomously on a runway. But the Air Force has not disclosed the specific mission this plane is designed for. "The space plane is an extravagant system without a convincing mission" Dr. Laura Grego of the UCS comments.