US: The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) expects to spend around USD800 million on space programs from the year 2015 through 2018, an increase of USD130 million over what was projected at this time last year. DARPA’s mission, generally speaking, is to pursue high-risk, high-payoff technology development projects that could someday benefit the military. For example, the 2015 request includes USD27 million for XS-1, a concept for a reusable space plane that could ultimately fly 10 times in 10 days and boost payloads into low Earth orbit for less than USD5 million per launch. The program received USD10 million in 2014.
“Technologies derived from the XS-1 programmes will enable routine space launch capabilities with aircraft-like cost, operability and reliability. The long-term intent is for XS-1 technologies to be transitioned to support not only next-generation launch for Government and commercial customers, but also global reach hypersonic and space access aircraft,” according to a spokesperson from DARPA. The budget request also includes USD55 million for the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, which is intended to field a system to launch satellites weighing up to 45 kilograms for USD1 million each. The agency requested USD42 million for the programme in fiscal year 2014.
Source: Space news