ARCA Space to Test Aerospike Engine at Spaceport America

ARCASpace booster with aerospike engine. (Credit: ARCA Space)

ARCA Space Corporation has announced plans to flight test its Executor aerospike engine for its Haas 2CA single-stage-to-orbit small satellite launch vehicle at Spaceport America in New Mexico in August.

The Demonstrator 3 vehicle will conduct the first test of an aerospike engine in flight during a suborbital mission that will reach an altitude of up to 100 km, the company said in a press release.

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XS-1: A Closer Look at the Government’s Latest — and Sanest? — Attempt to Reduce Launch Costs

Artist's conception of a nominal X-S1 vehicle. (Credit: DARPA)
Artist’s conception of a nominal X-S1 vehicle. (Credit: DARPA)

In the era of bell bottoms and Richard Nixon, there was the space shuttle.

When Ronald Reagan ruled the roost, all hope rested in the National Aerospace Plane.

During the Bill Clinton era, there were the X-33 and Venture Star.

In Barack Obama’s first term, the Air Force pursued its Reusable Booster System (RBS).

Five programs. One objective: to radically reduce the cost to orbit. More than $14 billion spent on development. And the result? A super expensive shuttle program. Four vehicles that never flew. And access to space just kept getting more expensive.

Undaunted by these previous failures, the brilliant engineers and scientists at DARPA are once again giving it  the old college try. And this time around, they believe the technology has finally caught up with the ambition of making flying into orbit a daily occurrence.

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