from the we-can't-always-get-what-we-want dept.
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."
"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a
cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken