America’s Rocket and Hypersonic Plans for the Coming Decades

A couple of slides from a NASA presentation made during last month’s FAA commercial space conference. The above slide shows the overall propulsion plan for the next 25 years. Note the image of the USAF’s Reusable Booster System which has a 2025 deployment. The service would phase out use of the existing EELVs (Delta IV and Atlas V) by 2030.

Below is the National Hypersonic Plan Access-to-Space Roadmap, which covers the next 15 years. Now, the very existence of an actual plan is probably a surprise to anyone who’s tried to follow America’s various and seemingly disconnected hypersonic projects. But, I digress.

The one thing that strikes me is the sheer scope of the technology that needs to be developed. It’s a complicated endeavor that will take quite a bit of time and funds. I always roll my eyes when I hear people talk about how large commercial passenger transports winging their way between London and Sydney in 45 minutes are not that far away. There’s a lot of work to do.