U.S. Air Force Requests Information on Reusable Boosters

The U.S. Air Force has issued a request for information from aerospace companies on reusable booster system (RBS) that could reduce the cost of getting into orbit and allow for the deployment of military assets.

The request reads in part:

Operational System Background: Studies have suggested that a Reusable Booster System (RBS) could reduce the cost of space transportation by significantly reducing the amount of flight hardware expended to achieve orbit while maintaining a moderate vehicle stack weight and associated development cost. The RBS concept requires the development of a robust booster system that can be processed quickly and affordably. The architecture consists of a reusable booster that can be integrated with a family of expendable stages to support the full range of DoD payloads from suborbital missions to operationally responsive payloads to heavy-lift missions.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Air Force Space & Missiles Systems Center (SMC) have and continue to conduct a variety of concept studies and subsystem technology maturation projects that are applicable to RBS concepts. The objective of this section of the Request for Information (RFI) is to identify potential operational RBS concepts, including the family of expendable stages variants, and feasible system development approaches. The operational variant information will provide a better understanding of system options, potential capabilities, and opportunities to leverage industry activities.

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