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World’s First Fully Reusable Spaceplane Is a Holy Grail, Can Be Reflown in Just 48 Hours

Even though today’s rockets are beginning to experiment with sustainable propulsion systems and design technologies, some consider spaceplanes to be the real game-changers in space travel. Their ability to take off and land horizontally, instead of vertically, saves a lot of time, costs, and effort, which makes the space market more accessible in the long run.
This rendering depicts the future Radian One, the world's first fully reusable spaceplane 6 photos
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It’s no secret that the space economy’s strategic importance is rapidly growing, and one of the keys to unlocking its massive potential is to have access to frequent, affordable space flights. The reusability concept has been frequently thrown around, but most of the time, it refers to certain parts of an aerospace vehicle being recovered after launch and then reintegrated for a new mission.

But an ambitious U.S.-based startup wants to go even further by introducing a spaceplane that can fly back to space just as it is, in maximum 48 hours.

Radian Aerospace was co-founded by a former space transportation specialist at Boeing, Livingston Holder, who used his expertise to develop a new generation aerospace vehicle with unique capabilities. The Radian One single-space to orbit spaceplane will be the only one in the world that’s also fully reusable. This means that it could carry people or cargo to low Earth orbit (LEO) as fast and as often as possible, with lower costs.

This spaceplane’s technical details haven’t been revealed yet, but we do know that it has sled-assist take-off capabilities, using full propellant tanks, withouth the help of a rocket, it can sustain missions of up to five days in orbit, and its wings enable smooth landings on regular runways. But its most impressive ability is that it can return, refuel and take off again almost immediately, which is unprecedented in space travel.

Radian’s goal is to make space travel as simple as airliner travel, although it’s not focused on tourism, but on a variety of critical missions, from in-space manufacturing to rapid global delivery. It has already secured significant funding from major investors and has signed launch service agreements with the U.S. government and several companies.

With a lower cost per mission and a fast multi-mission capability, Radian One could become the Holy Grail of space travel.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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