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Wed, Jun 01, 2016

Three Groups Vie For DARPA Contract

Goal Is To Launch Satellites Into Orbit Ten Times In Ten Days

DARPA has announced a deadline for selecting the team that will have an opportunity to design a spacecraft that will be able to deliver satellites to orbit 10 times in 10 days.

Three groups are in the running for the contract. Boeing has partnered with Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems has teamed up with XCOR Aerospace, and Northrop Grumman is working with Virgin Galactic.

The website Inverse.com reports that DARPA last Monday set a deadline of July 22 for proposals for the XS-1 program, which has four goals:

  • Fly 10 times in a 10-day period (barring weather) to demonstrate aircraft-like access to space.
  • Achieve flight velocity sufficiently high to enable use of a small (and therefore low-cost) expendable upper stage.
  • Launch a 900- to 1,500-pound payload and demonstrate the ability to eventually launch 3,000+-pound payloads during future missions.
  • Reduce the cost of flight to just $5 million per flight.

Insiders say Blue Origin is currently the furthest along among the competitors in developing a reusable spacecraft. And they have Boeing on their team ... which brings a lot to the table.

The winner of the competition will receive $140 million in funding from DARPA to develop their spacecraft.

FMI: www.darpa.mil

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