Radian Aerospace considers building a single-stage-to-orbit space plane launched from a rocket sled

Feb. 10, 2022
Airplanes, in a sense, are the ultimate example of why a single-stage-to-orbit would be ideal — more sustainable, cheaper, less manufacturing involved.

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Leaders of Radian Aerospace in Bellevue, Wash., announced last month that their engineers are building a single-stage-to-orbit space plane that takes off and lands horizontally. The reveal sparked excitement about what could be considered the holy grail of the decades-old industry. Inverse reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

10 Feb. 2022 -- If Radian can pull off this single-stage-to-orbit space plan design, it could mean rockets that work more like planes. That means better reusability, rapid re-use, and in the case of Radian, the ability to land on a wide variety of runways.

Traditional space rockets typically don’t ignite all their engines and once, and head straight for their destination like a car; they comprise several mini-rockets that fall away after they’re used.

Instead, Radian wants to use a rocket sled launch, which starts out horizontally down a track to gain speed before firing off a ramp at the end, starting the rocket off at an angle as it lifts off as opposed to a vertical launch that gradually rounds out its trajectory to reach orbit.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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