In the United States will be funded program to create a space drone XS-1

Performing hypersonic flights by experimental American spacecraft drone XS-1 (Experimental Spaceplane 1) is scheduled for late 2017 or early 2018. DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is an agent of the US Department of Defense, continues its work on this project. It is reported that an experimental space plane that will be able to fly at hypersonic speeds will actually be built. It is planned that in a series of tests the machine will have to make 10 flights for 10 consecutive days.

According to representatives of the agency DARPA, the spaceship will be able to detach from Earth for the first time after all the necessary tests have been carried out, approximately at the end of 2017. The program is recognized as very promising. It is well known that the launch and subsequent operation of an aircraft will require significantly less effort and money than launching launch vehicles. At the same time, it is the latter that are currently launching satellites into earth orbit. Developed countries spend huge financial resources on these elementary, in fact, missions. One of the main goals of creating the XS-1 program in DARPA is precisely the solution to the financial problem.

As part of this program, it is planned to build the first autonomous hypersonic spacecraft, which will fly like an ordinary plane, but it will also be able to take satellites into low Earth orbit at a stage detachable from the vehicle. In July, 2014, DARPA representatives announced the first phase of their project, within which all necessary contracts will be signed. In the long-term plans of the agency to ensure that the unmanned spacecraft XS-1 can make 10 flights in 10 days, at least in one flight having reached the speed of M = 10 (M is the Mach number). The cost of each perfect flight should not exceed 5 million dollars (about 180 million rubles). At the same time, the device will have to carry onboard a payload ranging from 1,36 to 2,37 tons.

It is assumed that the second stage of the launch vehicle will release the payload at the suborbital altitude as soon as it can detach from the main body. The drone itself will return back to Earth and almost immediately begin preparing for the next flights. Representatives of the agency DARPA note that they are going to finance the work of three companies that will work on creating their own demonstrators of the XS-1 unmanned spacecraft. The funds will be allocated to Northrop Grumman Corporation, working with Virgin Galactic, Masten Space Systems, working with XCOR Aerospace, and Boeing, working with Blue Origin.

Jess Sponable, the DARPA Program Manager, notes that the choice of performers was due to the fact that they can perfectly integrate the currently existing technologies with the technological solutions of the future. They will be able to create unmanned spacecraft concise, reliable and easy to use, as well as cost-effective. It is reported that the project will be assessed according to a number of criteria, including low implementation and operation budget, feasibility in practice, performance. In addition, the potential use of the apparatus for military, commercial and civilian purposes will be taken into account.

Among the companies selected for participation in the program, Boeing already has the necessary experience in creating a robotic unmanned aircraft for the needs of the US military. Boeing specialists for the US Air Force created an unmanned spacecraft X-37B, which has been used to carry out secret military missions since December 2012. The new contract with the agency DARPA, according to representatives of the company Boeing, is estimated at 4 million dollars (approximately 144 million rubles).

In the framework of the first phase of the project, along with the creation of a design for a demonstration model, it will be necessary to “develop a plan for the development of technologies related to spacecraft production and flight tests”, as well as “reducing the riskiness of the main technologies”. At the same time, the defense research agency has sufficient funds to finance the work of one of the contractors according to the results of the tender. At the same time, US officials express the hope that more than one space drone will undergo flight tests. Jess Sponable also said that he would be very happy to cooperate with the US Air Force and NASA.

The first stage of the program envisages the development by the participating companies of a mass-dimensional layout. Within this stage, all necessary calculations should be performed to reduce risks in the development, assembly and testing of the main systems, components and technologies of the novelty. Also, companies will have to submit for discussion a plan for the technical improvement of the XS-1 spacecraft for its first flight.

Following the results of the competition, which is to be held in 2015, it is planned to sign a contract for the implementation of the second stage of the ambitious program. The second phase of the project will consist in awarding the company the winner of the competition and demonstrating the first prototype of the XS-1 spacecraft. At the same time, according to plans, after 2, after the demonstration, it will be necessary to start carrying out flight tests of the novelty, and in 2018, to organize the first orbital flight. Upon completion of the test flight program, the winning company will receive a valid contract for small-scale production of the model.

Information that the agency DARPA expects to create an unmanned reusable spacecraft, appeared in February of this year. The prospective spaceship is planned to be used for delivery of a variety of cargo and equipment to low-Earth orbit. The main advantage of the project is the price of one launch of the device, which should not exceed 5 million dollars. Another important condition is that when making a series of launches, the XS-1 unmanned spacecraft should not need to be repaired and maintained. The use of modular solutions in XS-1, automatic control of launch, flight and landing, durable thermal protection systems will significantly reduce the need for material and technical support of the device, which will give a real opportunity to reduce the interval between flights of the suborbital apparatus.

For example: today, for delivering small satellites into Earth orbit, the US Air Force uses four-stage launchers Minotaur IV. The payload of these missiles is 1,73 tons, and the price of one launch of such a rocket is currently about 55 million dollars. Thus, the cost of launches using the XS-1 machine will be at least 10 times lower than the cost of all currently available launch systems. The Ministry of Defense and the US government are pinning great hopes on the new space drone, hoping to seriously develop the space services market.

Information sources:
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  1. -3
    12 August 2014 10: 17
    Yeah, here we are specifically behind
    1. +1
      12 August 2014 14: 04
      Judging by the statements, comparing the pictures given in the article, I draw conclusions:
      1,7-2,5 tons of payload are declared. The ratio of the "pill" that is thrown into space on kortinki and the apparatus itself, it turns out that the carrier itself should be the size of an Airbus-380 !!! Do not forget that "pill" is a container, a load inside !!!
      There are only REACTIVE engines on the Carrier, therefore MOTHER DOES NOT BURN there!
      Reusability, leaves an imprint on the cost.
      And after that, you want to say that it will be cheaper than a simple rocket ???

      Z.Y. Another beaver cut! Until there are normal ramjet engines for hypersonic flights, this is all fantastic.
      1. 0
        12 August 2014 19: 17
        Quote: Login_Off
        Announced 1,7-2,5 tons of payload

        The second stage also just enters into this load, so that according to the figure the dimensions are normal. Below, although they were minuscule, it still exists. In reality, they will be able to put 50-500 kg into orbit. The rocket plane itself can bring 1,36-2,37 cargo to a certain height, approximately 80-120 km, with the subsequent launch of the booster stage, which is included in the payload. The system itself is suitable for launching small satellites into low orbits, with a very low cost.
        1. 0
          12 August 2014 19: 39
          Quote: schizophrenic
          to bring small satellites to low orbits, with a very low cost

          I proceed from the data in the article. The total weight of the system is not indicated, nor is the weight of the second stage, there is only a payload. Based on what is given in the article, only general data can be calculated on which the system is designed to output microsatellites to low orbits.
  2. +2
    12 August 2014 10: 49
    Yes - this is specifically bad news. All this cohort of the red directors of the Glavkosmos, stealing from Yeltsin’s time, has profiled USSR time and technology. As a result, we now need to run so that you can excuse me to crap from stress. The S-500 can of course knock down these low-orbit satellites. And it’s clear what the main task is for this bird. Well, do not be upset before the time. Americans are great masters of desa and bullshit. Wait and see. bully
    1. +2
      12 August 2014 16: 27
      Quote: Archikah
      . Americans are great masters of desa and bullshit.

      They’ll do it - you can have no doubt. It’s not clear what does the S – 500 have to do with it? Are we only going to knock someone down, but we don’t need to launch anything? In the USSR, spacecraft projects were developed in several design bureaus, but unfortunately they all poher. Maybe it's time to take up the mind?
  3. 0
    12 August 2014 11: 04
    The spaceship takes off from the ground, accelerates to hypersound and launches the second stage, I’ll tell you the problem, it turns out like a cruise missile launches, hypersound is embarrassing, why doesn’t you go up to 10000 meters on the sound, and from there launch the second stage to low orbits?
    1. 0
      12 August 2014 15: 37
      Quote: saag
      why not reach 10000 meters on the dial

      The Americans decided to launch from 100 km, as a result the gain is even greater, due to the derivable second stage, the real satellite weight will be from 100 to 500 kg, depending on the orbit.
      1. 0
        12 August 2014 21: 24
        I decided to figure out the required weight for delivery into orbit 1,36-2,37kg, based on rockets.
        To bring out such a weight, you need a rocket weight of about 100-200 tons. For a rocket plane, the weight is reduced to 50-100 tons, due to the launch of the upper stage from an altitude of 80-120 km and a speed of 3 km per second. An approximate gain in comparison with a rocket launch in 2 stages. We can expect that there will be a real value of $ 10 million, almost correspond to the declared one.
  4. +1
    12 August 2014 11: 24
    But what projects were in the USSR ...
    1. 0
      12 August 2014 15: 17
      Quote: GRAY
      But what projects were in the USSR ...

      by the way, the very first drone ...
  5. +1
    12 August 2014 11: 26
    Actually, going not new, the Americans simply will be the first to realize it! It’s a pity, of course, but our maturity has long been lost! the space industry and design capabilities during the years of democracy are omitted below the plinth. recall our triumph under the buran program. he was the very first pilot base to land on the runway.
    1. bergberg
      12 August 2014 12: 12
      and Yeltsin leaked America all our workings, so who is ahead. He leaked the finished, but not the plans.
  6. bergberg
    12 August 2014 12: 10
    Something much has become here with a whining mood and yields to American pictures. Maybe there are owners of secret space research in Russia here? There has always been increased secrecy in Russia, and we don’t know what ours flies into space. And do not need extra tears!
  7. 0
    12 August 2014 12: 31
    On their drone, they need to resume the MiG-31D program with an anti-satellite missile
  8. +1
    12 August 2014 12: 35
    The most useful people in life are our enemies! Only they make us work, including on ourselves. And when these are countries, then other countries are forced to pull themselves together, forming the general development of civilization. So America can be said the engine of progress, probably you need to say thank you for the fact that it is, despite all its evil.
    1. -1
      12 August 2014 13: 07
      Quote: dchegrinec
      The most useful people in life are our enemies! Only they make us work, including on ourselves. And when these are countries, then other countries are forced to pull themselves together, forming the general development of civilization. So America can be said engine of progress, probably you need to say thanks for the fact that she is, despite all her evil.

      Yes. It was America that pushed aside progress in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, and, now, in Ukraine. To say (without any "probably") she needs thanks when she ceases to exist in its modern form.
  9. 0
    12 August 2014 13: 49
    So this is a reusable rocket.
    1. +2
      12 August 2014 14: 15
      Which plans and sits on a regular airfield.

      Or here's a modern reusable rocket and space system of the first stage (MRKS-1) GKNPC them. M.V. Khrunicheva.
    2. +2
      12 August 2014 14: 24
      unfortunately, in the USSR and Russia, all such projects remained in the pictures ... :( In the meantime, the closest to reusability - private SpaceX company. They are not in this, so next year they will try to land the first stage of the rocket on the ground.
      1. The comment was deleted.
      2. +4
        12 August 2014 14: 57
        The "Grasshopper" by Elon Mask is not jumping above 744 meters. And with such a landing fuel is used to reduce, which reduces the payload and increases the cost of its output.

        1. Victor-cort
          12 August 2014 17: 09
          they have potential advantages - convenience and speed of service ... which is important.
        2. -2
          13 August 2014 18: 13
          Why fuel, the main thing is a decent landing, and not our parachutes, when they land on them it hurts to look at, isn't that why we have a shortage of cosmonauts, and the Americans have this "all the way", damn it ?!
  10. +1
    12 August 2014 21: 29
    The domestic project "Spiral" is no worse.
    1. +2
      12 August 2014 22: 21
      Quote: TOR2
      The domestic project "Spiral" is not worse

      Only the spiral in the project launched from the media. Americans want to make the carrier itself, moreover, on a budget building, due to the lack of hypersonic engines, they use conventional jet engines. I have been wondering about this option for a long time, it’s not good that the Americans decided on it, all the same, a big gain comes from the money when launching small satellites and you do not need an air start. You can use this media and a project like Spiral together.
  11. 0
    13 August 2014 14: 52
    XS-1 space drone video, yeah ... cool ...
    1. +1
      13 August 2014 22: 45
      Quote: Lone gunman
      XS-1 space drone video, yeah ... cool ...

      The cartoon is entertaining, but it seems to me that the wingspan is excessively large for a vertical launch.
      1. +2
        14 August 2014 21: 08
        Quote: studentmati
        that the wingspan is excessively large for a vertical launch.

        ? and what is "interfering"?
        The speeds are not very high, just at the vertical direction, until reaching the height in pitch. and there already is a discharge.

        For landing (low speed) the most
  12. Voronbit
    14 August 2014 13: 00
    the returning 1st stage ... they plan to do several on the Angara. depending on the payload. therefore, I do not see any advantages in the SX, and indeed, until the mass is delivered into orbit through the atmosphere using chemical engines, all this is one thing .. only in profile
  13. for
    14 August 2014 18: 43
    Chet confuses me with their remote control.
    In the USSR, we calculated all sorts of options for one-stage starts.
    In addition to the project of a single-stage M-19 with a nuclear propulsion system, nothing turned out to be quite effective in comparison with conventional launch vehicles. Everything was on the verge, a little lacked in the efficiency of the engines, the weighted perfection of the design, well, and in the little things.
    It can be assumed:
    1. They managed to create a rocket engine with a specific thrust of units that way in 550-800s (against 300s in LRE).
    2. Improve weight excellence by switching to lighter materials and using automation instead of crew .....
    Well, somewhere like that.
    Well, if they really succeeded with the remote control, then it's sad.
    1. 0
      15 August 2014 02: 37
      Quote: Petrovich
      In the USSR, we calculated all sorts of options for one-stage starts.

      Americans make a 2-step system. Reusable carrier and disposable second stage. It turns out that the air start is replaced, only the response height is not 10-15 km, but 80-120 and a higher speed.
      It is possible to turn off 1-2 engines during flight, if they use a vertical start, protect the wings, with a horizontal start, lower power engines can be used.
  14. netwalker1904
    20 August 2014 10: 52
    What a drone they are - they are not able to make a launch vehicle smile
  15. 0
    30 May 2017 12: 45
    I went to the DAPRA website. I looked at the program - I found: "The XS-1 program is seeking propulsion systems
    mature enough to support flight testing NLT 2020, "Google translated:" The XS-1 program is looking for propulsion systems mature enough to support the NLT 2020 flight tests. "

    Hee, they will look for a long time ... And check (I look, in the discussions there were people ready to count). Calculate the energy efficiency of hypersonic engines taking into account air capture (speed 0) to provide acceleration of the device (speed 3200 m / s) with a kerosene engine (at the best RD0124 3310 m / s at sea level). According to my calculations, for kerosene (3310-3200) it’s practically zero, and there’s also a loss ... Although the pictures are beautiful they draw, even with formulas.

    By the way, hydrogen is certainly better, but the efficiency is still low, on the verge. And what is better at the declared speed, rocket or hypersonic, only by experience (FIG losses you will calculate without knowledge of the design) can be determined.