An artist's concept of the XS-1 Space Plane by DARPA
An artist's concept of the XS-1 Space Plane by DARPA

The U.S. Military’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) — a Department of Defense agency specializing in the development of new technology — is seeking $27 million in 2015 funding for the XS-1 Space Plane, which is a reusable plane potentially capable of flying 10 times in 10 days and boosting payloads into low-Earth orbit for less than $5 million per launch, reports.

“Technologies derived from the XS-1 program will enable routine space launch capabilities with aircraft-like cost, operability and reliability,” reads a DARPA announcement from November 2013. “The long-term intent is for XS-1 technologies to be transitioned to support not only next-generation launch for Government and commercial customers, but also global reach hypersonic and space access aircraft.”

According to, DARPA is hoping to select a vendor next year for design and development of the aircraft, which is projected to make its first test flight in 2018.

DARPA is also requesting $55 million fro the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, “which is intended to field a system to launch satellites weighing up to 100 lbs (45 kilograms) for $1 million each,” said.

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