Imagine a Spaceplane that can take off vertically like a rocket, deploy a satellite in space, and then land back on Earth horizontally like a plane. Now imagine that same spacecraft flying 10 times…in 10 days.
This game changing spaceplane would enable rapid access to space on a reusable spacecraft and is known as the “Phantom Express.”
The Phantom Express is being built through a partnership between Boeing and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
This week, the Phantom Express came a little closer to becoming a reality as the spaceplane’s engine manufacturer — California-based rocket propulsion company Aerojet Rocketdyne —completed assembly of their first Phantom Express engine.
The reusable engine, which is derived from those used on the Space Shuttle program, will now undergo a series of daily hot-fire tests to demonstrate their reliability and rapid turnaround capability for this innovative and mysterious new spaceplane.