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Latest Spaceplanes Stories

'Critical' Spaceplane Engine Testing Underway
2012-04-29 04:30:10

Testing has begun on an engine that could make it possible for a plane to travel into space, travel at five times the speed of sound, and make it possible to reach any destination on the planet in no more than four hours, Suzannah Hills of the Daily Mail reported on Saturday. The vehicle in question is the Skylon, an unmanned, reusable spaceplane that is currently in development at UK aerospace company Reaction Engines Ltd (REL). According to Hill, the craft can take off and land from any...

Image 1 - Sierra Nevada Delivers Flight Test Vehicle Structure
2012-02-07 04:38:42

One of NASA's industry partners, Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC), recently delivered the primary structure of its first Dream Chaser flight test vehicle to the company's facility in Louisville, Colo., where it will be assembled and integrated with secondary systems. This is one of 12 milestones to be completed under SNC's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). "It's rewarding to see our partner's ideas and concepts come to fruition," said CCP Program Manager...

Air Force Spaceplane Could Be 'Spying On China'
2012-01-05 12:38:47

According to a report by Spaceflight, the classified X-37B U.S. Air Force spaceplane is most likely spending its time in orbit spying on China. The X-37B launched into orbit in March of last year and has not returned to Earth yet.  The Pentagon refused to discuss its mission, but amateur space trackers say its path around the globe is nearly identical to China's spacelab. "Space-to-space surveillance is a whole new ball game made possible by a finessed group of sensors and sensor...

Vega To Fly ESA Experimental Reentry Vehicle
2011-12-17 05:30:41

The launch of ESA´s IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle on Europe´s new Vega rocket is now in detailed planning, a major step towards the craft´s flight in 2014. Launched into a suborbital trajectory from Europe´s Spaceport in French Guiana, IXV will return to Earth as if from a low-orbit mission, to test and qualify new critical technologies for future reentry vehicles. It will attain an altitude of around 450 km, allowing it to reach a velocity of 7.5 km/s on...

2011-12-15 04:49:56

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is entering into a space act agreement with Sierra Nevada Corp. Space Systems of Louisville, Colo., to provide key wind tunnel testing of a new spacecraft designed to transport crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station. Marshall will perform wind tunnel tests for Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle, a spacecraft that looks like a small space shuttle. The tests will simulate speeds ranging from Mach .2,...

2011-12-14 14:00:00

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is entering into a space act agreement with Sierra Nevada Corp. Space Systems of Louisville, Colo., to provide key wind tunnel testing of a new spacecraft designed to transport crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) Marshall will perform wind tunnel tests for Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser orbital crew...

Paul Allen Unveils Stratolaunch Next-gen Spaceship
2011-12-14 06:11:52

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and renowned aerospace engineer Burt Rutan unveiled a plan on Tuesday to build the world´s largest plane to launch cargo and astronauts into space. Allen said on Tuesday that the new venture, dubbed Stratolaunch, would utilize a seldom-used concept:  an aircraft that can take off the traditional way, and then, once it reaches an altitude of 30,000 feet, launch a rocket into orbit. The spaceship would carry satellites, supplies, and,...

X-37B Space Plane Mission Extended
2011-12-01 10:13:20

The US Air Force´s secretive X-37B space plane, launched on March 5, 2011, was designed to fly for 270 days. Day 270 came yesterday, but the military branch has decided to prolong its mission, with no sign of landing the craft any time soon. “It´s still up there,” Major Tracy Bunko, a Secretary of the Air Force spokesperson, told MSNBC. “On-orbit experimentation is continuing.” “Though we cannot predict when that will be complete, we are learning...

Space Taxi Launching Test Flight In Summer Of 2012
2011-10-12 11:07:58

Officials said on Tuesday that a NASA-backed space taxi will be making a high-altitude test flight next summer. Sierra Nevada Corp.'s "Dream Chaser" is one of four space taxis being developed that have had support from government funding. The seven-seat space plane will be carried into the skies by WhiteKnightTwo, a carrier aircraft for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. Ed Mango, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, said at a community briefing at the Kennedy Space Center in...

2011-07-07 13:56:00

LOUISVILLE, Colo., July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems has announced the augmentation of its Dream Chaser Orbital Space Transportation Vehicle team through the addition of several former NASA veteran human spaceflight experts. Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Space Systems said, "SNC is seeking to develop a strong partnership with NASA. Our Dream Chaser vehicle was born at NASA before we took on its development. By adding these highly...