New space companies will take prominent roles in the first phase of the U.S. 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 first stage. Blue Origin is part of the Boeing team while Northrop Grumman is working with Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites. XS-1 aims to demonstrate a fully reusable unmanned ...

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