New space companies will take a prominent role in the first phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (Darpa) XS-1 experimental spaceplane program. Masten Space Systems, teamed with XCOR Aerospace, has won one of three contracts to design a demonstrator for a reusable launch-vehicle in its first stage. Blue Origin is part of the Boeing team; Northrop Grumman is teamed with Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites. XS-1 aims to demonstrate a fully reusable unmanned vehicle ...

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