The United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has asked Boeing to build the fastest ever spaceplane which will be able to launch ten payloads within ten days.This is to protect their satellite against future satellite attacks.Also it is going to serve as a quick response to satellite emergencies.Whenever a satellite is attacked, it will cause a massive chaos.
According to DARPA,the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) project aims to bring to life a fleet of hypersonic aircraft that can “revolutionize the Nation’s ability to recover from a catastrophic loss of military or commercial satellites, upon which the Nation today is critically dependent.”This project is a planned mission by DARPA.
About the Spaceplane (XS-1) project
The DARPA XS-1 is a planned experimental spaceplane/booster designed to deliver small satellites into orbit for the U.S. Military. It is intended to be reusable as frequently as 10 times in 10 days. The XS-1 is to directly replace the “first stage” of a multistage rocket that will be capable of flying at hypersonic speed at suborbital altitude, enabling one or more expendable upper stages to separate and deploy a payload into low Earth orbit.
The XS-1 would then return to Earth, where it could be serviced fast enough to repeat the process at least once every 24 hours.The XS-1 program was announced in November 2013 at a DARPA industry day. DARPA stated that the XS-1 was more feasible due to better technologies, including light and low-cost composite airframe and tank structures, durable thermal protection, reusable and affordable propulsion, and aircraft-like health management systems.
Jess Sponable, the XS-1 program manager, spoke on February 5, 2014 at NASA’s Future In-Space Operations group, stating, “The vision here is to break the cycle of escalating space system costs, enable routine space access and hypersonic vehicles.”
Three companies were awarded contracts by July 2014 to design a demonstration vehicle. The selected companies were Boeing with Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems with XCOR Aerospace, and Northrop Grumman with Virgin Galactic. Unlike other DARPA programs that were handed off to parts of the United States military once proven successful, this initiative was designed from the start to be a direct partnership between the agency and industry.
In August 2015, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Masten Space Systems all received additional funding from DARPA to continue their XS-1 design concepts for Phase 1B of the program. The first XS-1 orbital mission could occur as early as 2020.
DARPA have this to say on the X1 Project
In order to achieve this goal, Boeing will need to make serious strides in both technology and ground operations.The XS-1, “roughly the size of a business jet,” will take off vertically to reach hypersonic speeds. DARPA hopes that the spaceplane will launch with no external boosters — cutting the expense of the vehicle — and will be powered only by cryogenic technology.
Once the plane reaches orbit, the XS-1 would deploy a 3,000-pound satellite. As the vehicle would be able to use the same launching stage repeatedly, it is hoped that after landing and being prepared for the next flight, the XS-1 will be able to deploy ten satellites in as many days, with a turnaround “potentially within hours.”
The Boeing Company is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, and satellites worldwide. The company also provides leasing and product support services. Boeing is among the largest global aircraft manufacturers; it is the second-largest defense contractor in the world based on 2015 revenue.
Also is the largest exporter in the United States by dollar value. Boeing stock is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.The Boeing Company’s corporate headquarters are located in Chicago and the company is led by President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom have this to say; “Phantom Express is designed to disrupt and transform the satellite launch process as we know it today, creating a new, on-demand space-launch capability that can be achieved more affordably and with less risk,”