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DARPA selects companies for XS-1 spaceplane program
Posted: Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 8:05 AM ET (1205 GMT)
XS-1 illustration (DARPA) A DOD agency has awarded contracts to three teams of companies to begin design work on high-speed vehicle intended to serve as a reusable first stage of a low-cost launch system. The Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) contracts, announced by DARPA on Tuesday, will go to Boeing, working with Blue Origin; Masten Space Systems, working with XCOR Aerospace; and Northrop Grumman, working with Virgin Galactic. Each contract is valued at several million dollars, and covers early design work on their XS-1 concepts. DARPA's goal with the overall XS-1 program is to develop a reusable vehicle capable of flying up to Mach 10 that, coupled with an expendable upper stage, could place payloads of up to a few thousand kilograms into orbit for less than $5 million per launch.
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