While other high-profile reusable space launch vehicle projects are focused on development of vertically landed first stages or the recovery of main engines, a team in Australia is beginning to flight test a different approach to cutting launch costs. Theirs is a wing-borne, fly-back booster and a reusable, scramjet-powered second stage. The first demonstrator element of the Austral Launch Vehicle (ALV), a subscale first stage of a low-cost launcher aimed at the small-satellite market, is ...

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