While huge rockets are undoubtedly a cool way of exploring the vast expanse of space, the technology is incredibly wasteful. While reusable spaceships have been in development for years — like SpaceX's Starship —the concept of an easy-to-use space still hasn't been achieved.
Reported by Freethink, Washington-based startup Radian Aerospace is aiming to finally create the orbital plane scientists have dreamed about. But will the tech startup be about to deliver? Or will it drop out of sight?
Radian Aerospace is developing a Space Plane
Via the outlet, Radian Aerospace has already secured its first round of funding to develop its space plane. Dubbed Radian One, the concept vehicle will be designed as a reusable ground-to-space plane that will make space travel more affordable.
The current round of funding, to the tune of $27.5 million, will help the company to create its first prototype. The prototype Radian One is planned to take off from a runway horizontally “on top of a rocket-powered sled” before ascending vertically into space.
Radian believes that the sled attachment is an integral part of crafting a true space plane. The sled will allow the vehicle to gather speed without expending fuel. This means that the plane will have more fuel to use in space and for its return to Earth.
The Radian One concept is designed to last five days in space. Afterwards, the vehicle will be able to re-enter the Earth and land horizontally on a ground-based runway. The plane will then be able to fly again in 48 hours.
An affordable future
Radian’s goals with the Radian One space plane is to create a more affordable future for space travel. Current rockets — like the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket — are expensive vehicles that use up a lot of fuel.
Radian CEO, Richard Humphrey, explained:
“We believe that widespread access to space means limitless opportunities for humankind. Over time, we intend to make space travel nearly as simple and convenient as airliner travel.”
Space Plane technology is not exactly new, but contemporary attempts have been less than successful. Both NASA and Beoing have both attempted to launch their own spacebound planes. However, the vehicles were launched vertically on the side of rockets and fell back to Earth after launch.