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Briefs: More LauncherOne; Skylon legalities; DARPA's Mach 20 plan

11 Jul 2012, 19:36 UTC
Briefs: More LauncherOne; Skylon legalities; DARPA's Mach 20 plan
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Jeff Foust reports on Virgin Galactic's announcements today: Virgin Galactic relaunches its smallsat launch business - NewSpace Journal.
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Jonathan Amos reports on the Reaction Engines Skylon and plans by the UK government to deal with regulatory issues affecting operations of such a vehicle: Move to open sky for Skylon spaceplane - BBC.
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Here's an article about DARPA's recently announced hypersonics initiative to develop a a full scale Mach 20 demonstrator by 2016: DARPA Wants Hypersonic Rocket Plane by 2016 - Space.com.

I had thought this program involved scramjets but they apparently want a rocket powered carrier vehicle to release a glide aircraft (with optional rocket boost capability), which will fly at Mach 20 and test techniques for thermal protection, guidance and control, etc. The propulsion technology area is developing a single, integrated launch vehicle designed to precisely insert a hypersonic glide vehicle into its desired trajectory, rather than adapting a booster designed for space missions. The propulsion area also addresses integrated rocket propulsion technology onboard vehicles to enable a vehicle to give itself an in-flight rocket boost to extend its glide range.

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