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Air Force Wants Reusable Fly-Back Rockets 94

FleaPlus writes "The Air Force is initiating a pathfinder program to develop a first-stage rocket booster capable of gliding back to a runway so it can be easily reused. Lockheed Martin has already launched a secretive prototype, and a Cal Poly team has a prototype based on Buzz Aldrin's Starcraft/StarBooster design (video). The Air Force estimates such a booster could cut launch costs by 50% over the current Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets, and could also offer a rapid surge/replacement capability if combined with reusable spacecraft like the recently launched X-37B. Initial test flights are planned for 2013."
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Air Force Wants Reusable Fly-Back Rockets

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  • by ivandavidoff (969036) on Friday May 21, 2010 @07:29PM (#32301276)
    If flying cars could be made to blow up the enemy, or even just humiliate them, we'd have flying cars. Not to take anything away from the folks at Cal Poly, but I'm still waiting for the next Teflon.
  • by mr_zorg (259994) on Friday May 21, 2010 @08:26PM (#32301616)

    Lockheed Martin has already launched ... as well as a Cal Poly team ...

    WTF, they launched a Cal Poly team? Where's the copy editors when you need them?

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday May 21, 2010 @10:55PM (#32302444) Journal

    Well gee, since you insist. Over the next few years we use what we have, making minor improvements while we're still using it. But a horse can only go so fast and so far. And this tech could never hold up to thousands of daily flights needed for true commercial development. It's way too complex and fragile.

    The more distant future will require an entire rethink of our understanding of nature. If lightspeed is a true brick wall, then we can forget about it. Space travel will remain forever impractical. It would be like being stuck with nothing faster than the old sailing ships and their not exactly great survival rates. I think we're still missing many key ingredients to make these (to me unfathomable) assumptions. So I still have hope.

  • by PPH (736903) on Friday May 21, 2010 @11:07PM (#32302494)
    They haven't figured out how the passengers can survive the Muzak for the duration of the ride.

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