The small, planelike craft is known as the XS-1 program—short for ‘eXperimental Spaceplane 1’, and could blast off in 2019 on its first test mission.
It is hoped the craft could quickly launch small satellites that could defend against the growing threat of Russian and Chinese space weapons.
XS-1 could ‘create a new paradigm for more routine, responsive and affordable space operations,’ according to DARPA, the military research arm heading the project.
The XS-1 is an airplane-like vehicle that can fly to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere and quickly boost small satellites into orbit, and then land, refuel, load up another satellite, and take off again within 24 hours. (Read more from “The X-37b’s Big Brother Revealed: Boeing Bags $6.6m Contract to Do This” HERE)