Air Force to Issue RFI for Hypersonic X Plane Work

Plans for Future Re-usable Space Launch X-plane Hatched
Aviation Week

The Air Force Research Laboratory expects to issue a request for information (rfi) “any day now” to industry for a wide spread of structures, systems and control technology that could be used as a the basis for a hypersonic, responsive space launch vehicle X-plane demonstrator.

The rfi is for the follow-on phase to the future responsive access to space technologies (FAST) program which focused on several ground experiments into baseline technology for the future demonstrator. These included an all-composite airframe with warm, cryogenic structures, load-bearing tanks attached to wing box carry-through and thrust structures and thermal protection systems with operable seals and mechanical attachments.

Other ground experiments include adaptive guidance and control subsystems with the ability to re-shape trajectories on-line and mission replanning in response to sub-system failures. Another aspect of FAST has also involved development of a laboratory for exploring concepts for operating a quick-turnaround, reusable space launch vehicle, rapid mission planning, in-flight command and control and ground operations.

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