first published on July 11, 2018 by Will
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is rapidly completing important steps in creating the military’s new space plane and has test fired the rocket engine 10 times in 10 days.
As of June 26, 2018 the liquid-oxygen, liquid-hydrogen-powered AR-22 engine (Aerojet Rocketdyne) fired an average of once every 18.5 hours, said the project manager Jeff Haynes, according to a Defense One article.
“For this program, what we really wanted to do was design a system that was able to fly 10 times in 10 days,” said Scott Wierzbanowski, DARPA’s head engineer for the project. “This really takes off the table the concern that a reusable space plane or a reusable booster can’t inherently be operable.”
The new space plane, dubbed the Phantom Express, will be built by Boeing and is slated for daily missions to carry satellites into orbit by the year 2021. The plane will be approximately 100 feet long, with a 62-foot wingspan. The plane will weigh 240,000 pounds when fully fueled. It will be able to reach Mach 10, or 10 times faster than the speed of sound.
The following concept video was made over a year ago: