Boeing wins DARPA’s nod for space plane

Phanton Express XS-1 space plane

An artist’s conception shows Boeing’s Phantom Express XS-1 space plane in flight. (Boeing Illustration)

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says it has selected the Boeing Co. to develop and test its XS-1 hypersonic space plane, using a design now known as the Phantom Express.

Boeing won out over Northrop Grumman and Masten Space Systems to take the long-running XS-1 project beyond Phase 1 into Phase 2/3, culminating with test flights in 2020.

The reusable space plane would be designed to carry and deploy a small, expendable upper stage, then return to Earth for a runway landing. The upper stage would be capable of putting satellites weighing up to 3,000 pounds in low Earth orbit.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Aerospace and science editor for GeekWire, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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