Newly declassified details of the analysis behind the U.S. Air Force’s decision to opt for a next-generation Reusable Booster System (RBS) reveal a long-term preference for a rocket-based, combined-cycle upper-stage orbiter over the nearer-term expendable solution. The RBS plan is in development to replace the Air Force’s existing Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV) beyond 2025, and aims to cut launch costs by 50% by combining a reusable first stage with expendable upper stages. ...

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