Skylon: ready for takeoff?

For decades, the ultimate goal in space transportation has been the single-stage-to-orbit reusable launch vehicle, or SSTO RLV. Such vehicles, engineers and other space advocates have argued, would make space transportation much more like air transportation: airplanes, after all, aren’t thrown away after a single flight, and don’t jettison parts en route to their destinations. A launch vehicle that could operate in the same fashion—even if it didn’t necessarily take off or land like an airplane—would, proponents claimed, be simpler, safer, and less expensive than conventional expendable rockets and thus open up new markets for space activity.

The British think they have a solution to the problem. But there’s a reason why other NewSpace startups have avoided SSTO. To read the rest of the article, click below.

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