May 25 (UPI) -- Boeing and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, are entering into a partnership to design, test and build the hypersonic Experimental Spaceplane, or XS-1, program.
Boeing is tasked with developing an autonomous, reusable spaceplane that can carry a small single-stage launcher and place satellites weighing up to 3000 pounds into low orbit. Both Boeing and DARPA will invest in the program.
The spaceplane, colloquially referred to as the "Phantom Express," is designed to use a second stage thruster in order to reenter the Earth's atmosphere and allow a runway landing.
"Phantom Express is designed to disrupt and transform the satellite launch process as we know it today, creating a new, on-demand space-launch capability that can be achieved more affordably and with less risk," Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works, said in a press release.
The Phantom Express's Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-22 engine system is a derivative off the original Space Shuttle. It is powered by a mix of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.
When the test phase is reached, Boeing and DARPA say they hope to demonstrate 10 flights in 10 days.