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Waspie_Dwarf

DARPA Airbourne Satellite Launch Vehicle

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Boeing wins contract to design DARPA Airbourne Satellite Launch Vehicle

What Boeing vehicle would hitch a ride on an F-15E, drop from the aircraft, fire its engines and deploy microsatellites into space?

It’s a new satellite launch vehicle concept designed by Phantom Works Advanced Space Exploration for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access or ALASA.

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When it comes to airborne launch systems i allways thought this system had a lot of potential.

http://www.buran.ru/htm/molniya6.htm

The engine alone could probably have led to SSTO spacecrafts. It wasn't just a paperproject, the engines were actually built.

http://www.buran.ru/htm/rd-701.htm

But unfortunately it was abandoned years ago !

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But unfortunately it was abandoned years ago !

This Russian project may have been abandoned, but air launched rockets are back in vogue.

The most similar to the MAKS vehicle has to be Swiss Space System's (S3) project which plans to launch small satellites using a reusable shuttle which is air launched from an Airbus A300: HERE

Virgin Galactic has plans to launch small satellites from a rocket air launched from it's WhiteKnightTwo carrier aorcraft (the same aircraft that will air launch the SpaceShipTwo passenger vehicles): HERE.

Then there is Stratolaunch, who plan to air launch a large rocket from a six engined behemoth using two modified 747 fuselages: HERE.

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