XS-1: A US Military Space Plane in Pictures (Gallery)

Artist's Concept of DARPA's XS-1 Vehicle


The U.S. military is developing the XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane to launch space missions faster and cheaper than ever before. See photos and images of the DARPA-led XS-1 space plane project in this Space.com gallery. Pictured here: An artist's concept of DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1).

Northrop Grumman's XS-1 Space Plane Design

Northrop Grumman

On Aug. 21, 2014, Northrop Grumman unveiled its design concept for the XS-1 military space plane. The company is partnering with Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic on the project for DARPA. [Read the Full Story Here.

XS-1 Space Plane Ascent Illustration


This DARPA artist's concept depicts the launch of a U.S. military XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane carrying an rocket booster and satellite payload on its back. The XS-1 space plane could launch horizontally or vertically, depending on its final design. Read the Full Story Here.

XS-1 Space Plane Launch Concept


A rocket upper stage carrying a satellite payload launches into orbit in this artist's concept of the U.S. military's XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane, a project overseen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Read the Full Story Here.

XS-1 Space Plane: Boeing Illustration


This Boeing illustration depicts a possible design for the XS-1 experimental space plane, a robotic reusable military spacecraft envisioned for launching satellites and payloads into orbit. The XS-1 space plane project is overseen by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Read the Full Story Here.

DARPA XS-1 Space Plane Concepts


This image, taken from a DARPA presentation, shows several potential designs for the U.S. military's planned XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane, an innovative robotic spacecraft project to launch satellites into orbit cheaply and efficiently.

XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane Project


The U.S. military's planned XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane project aims to build a robotic spacecraft capable of launching satellites into orbit much faster and cheaper than ever before. This slide, taken from a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) presentation, depicts some details about the innovative concept.

Air Force's X-37B Space Plane: OTV-2 Hangar


DARPA's XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane program is not the first military space plane project. In fact, the U.S. Air Force has two operational robotic space planes in service today. Those two spacecraft, twin versions of the X-37B spacecraft shown above, are capable of long-duration missions in Earth orbit and have flown three missions since 2010.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Space.com Staff
News and editorial team

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.