The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.
Originally known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the agency was created in February 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik 1 in 1957. By collaborating with academic, industry, and government partners, DARPA formulates and executes research and development projects to expand the frontiers of technology and science, often beyond immediate U.S. military requirements.
DARPA-funded projects have provided significant technologies that influenced many non-military fields, such as computer networking and the basis for the modern Internet, and graphical user interfaces in information technology.
DARPA is independent of other military research and development and reports directly to senior Department of Defense management. DARPA has about 220 employees, of whom approximately 100 are in management.
The name of the organization first changed from its founding name ARPA to DARPA in March 1972, briefly changing back to ARPA in February 1993, only to revert to DARPA in March 1996.
DARPA's former headquarters in the Virginia Square neighborhood of Arlington. The agency is currently located in a new building at 675 North Randolph St.
Currently, DARPA's mission statement is "to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security".
DARPA achievements for the past 50 years
Early history (1959–1969)
The creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was authorized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 for the purpose of forming and executing research and development projects to expand the frontiers of technology and science, and able to reach far beyond immediate military requirements, the two relevant acts being the Supplemental Military Construction Authorization (Air Force) (Public Law 85-325) and Department of Defense Directive 5105.15, in February 1958. Its creation was directly attributed to the launching of Sputnik and to U.S. realization that the Soviet Union had developed the capacity to rapidly exploit military technology. Initial funding of ARPA was $520 million. ARPA's first director, Roy Johnson, left a $160,000 management job at General Electric for an $18,000 job at ARPA.Herbert York from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was hired as his scientific assistant.
Johnson and York were both keen on space projects, but when NASA was established later in 1958 all space projects and most of ARPA's funding were transferred to it. Johnson resigned and ARPA was repurposed to do "high-risk", "high-gain", "far out" basic research, a posture that was enthusiastically embraced by the nation's scientists and research universities. ARPA's second director was Brigadier General Austin W. Betts, who resigned in early 1961. He was succeeded by Jack Ruina who served until 1963. Ruina, the first scientist to administer ARPA, managed to raise its budget to $250 million. It was Ruina who hired J. C. R. Licklider as the first administrator of the Information Processing Techniques Office, which played a vital role in creation of ARPANET, the basis for the future Internet.
Additionally, the political and defense communities recognized the need for a high-level Department of Defense organization to formulate and execute R&D projects that would expand the frontiers of technology beyond the immediate and specific requirements of the Military Services and their laboratories. In pursuit of this mission, DARPA has developed and transferred technology programs encompassing a wide range of scientific disciplines that address the full spectrum of national security needs.
ARPA at this point (1959) played an early role in Transit (also called NavSat) a predecessor to the Global Positioning System (GPS). "Fast-forward to 1959 when a joint effort between DARPA and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory began to fine-tune the early explorers’ discoveries. TRANSIT, sponsored by the Navy and developed under the leadership of Dr. Richard Kirschner at Johns Hopkins, was the first satellite positioning system."
During the late 1960s, with the transfer of these mature programs to the Services, ARPA redefined its role and concentrated on a diverse set of relatively small, essentially exploratory research programs. The agency was renamed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 1972, and during the early 1970s, it emphasized direct energy programs, information processing, and tactical technologies.
Concerning information processing, DARPA made great progress, initially through its support of the development of time-sharing (all modern operating systems rely on concepts invented for the Multics system, developed by a cooperation among Bell Labs, General Electric and MIT, which DARPA supported by funding Project MAC at MIT with an initial two-million-dollar grant).
The Mansfield Amendment of 1973 expressly limited appropriations for defense research (through ARPA/DARPA) only to projects with direct military application. Some contend that the amendment devastated American science, since ARPA/DARPA was a major funding source for basic science projects of the time; the National Science Foundation never made up the difference as expected.
The resulting "brain drain" is also credited with boosting the development of the fledgling personal computer industry. Some young computer scientists left the universities to startups and private research laboratories such as Xerox PARC.
Between 1976 and 1981, DARPA's major projects were dominated by air, land, sea, and space technology, tactical armor and anti-armor programs, infrared sensing for space-based surveillance, high-energy laser technology for space-based missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, advanced cruise missiles, advanced aircraft, and defense applications of advanced computing. These large-scale technological program demonstrations were joined by integrated circuit research, which resulted in submicrometer electronic technology and electron devices that evolved into the Very-Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) Program and the Congressionally-mandated charged particle beam program.
During the 1980s, the attention of the Agency was centered on information processing and aircraft-related programs, including the National Aerospace Plane (NASP) or Hypersonic Research Program. The Strategic Computing Program enabled DARPA to exploit advanced processing and networking technologies and to rebuild and strengthen relationships with universities after the Vietnam War. In addition, DARPA began to pursue new concepts for small, lightweight satellites (LIGHTSAT) and directed new programs regarding defense manufacturing, submarine technology, and armor/anti-armor.
On October 28, 2009 the agency broke ground on a new facility in Arlington, Virginia a few miles from the Pentagon.
In fall 2011, DARPA hosted the 100-Year Starship Symposium with the aim of getting the public to start thinking seriously about interstellar travel.
On June 5, 2016, NASA and DARPA announced that it planned to build new X-planes with NASA's plan setting to create a whole series of X planes over the next 10 years.
In July 2016, it was announced that DARPA would bring a group of top-notch computer security experts to search for security vulnerabilities and create a fix that patches those vulnerabilities and it is called the Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC).
In June 2018, DARPA leaders demonstrated a number of new technologies that were developed within the framework of the GXV-T program. The goal of this program is to create a lightly armored combat vehicle of not very large dimensions, which, due to maneuverability and other tricks, can successfully resist modern anti-tank weapon systems.
The formative years (1958–1975)
The Cold War era (1975–1989)
The Post-Soviet years (1989–present)
Current program offices
DARPA has six technical offices that manage the agency's research portfolio, and two additional support offices that manage special projects and transition efforts. All offices report to the DARPA director:
The Adaptive Execution Office (AEO) is one of two new DARPA offices created in 2009 by the DARPA Director, Regina Dugan. The office's four project areas include technology transition, assessment, rapid productivity and adaptive systems. AEO provides the agency with robust connections to the warfighter community and assists the agency with the planning and execution of technology demonstrations and field trials to promote adoption by the warfighter, accelerating the transition of new technologies into DoD capabilities.
The Defense Sciences Office (DSO) vigorously pursues the most promising technologies within a broad spectrum of the science and engineering research communities and develops those technologies into important, radically new military capabilities. DSO identifies and pursues high-risk, high-payoff fundamental research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines – sometimes reshaping existing fields or creating entirely new disciplines – and transforms these initiatives into radically new, game-changing technologies for U.S. national security.
The Information Innovation Office (I2O) aims to ensure U.S. technological superiority in all areas where information can provide a decisive military advantage. Some of the program managers in I2O are Wade Shen (as of December 2014), Stuart Wagner (as of September 2014), Steve Jameson (as of August 2014), Angelos Keromytis (as of July 2014), and David Doermann (as of April 2014). Brian Pierce is currently the office director.
The Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) mission focuses on the heterogeneous microchip-scale integration of electronics, photonics, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Their high risk/high payoff technology is aimed at solving the national level problems of protection from biological, chemical and information attack and to provide operational dominance for mobile distributed command and control, combined manned/unmanned warfare, and dynamic, adaptive military planning and execution.
The Strategic Technology Office (STO) mission is to focus on technologies that have a global theater-wide impact and that involve multiple Services.
The Tactical Technology Office (TTO) engages in high-risk, high-payoff advanced military research, emphasizing the "system" and "subsystem" approach to the development of aeronautic, space, and land systems as well as embedded processors and control systems.
The Biological Technologies Office (BTO) fosters, demonstrates, and transitions breakthrough fundamental research, discoveries, and applications that integrate biology, engineering, and computer science for national security. Created in April 2014 by then director Arati Prabhakar, taking programs from the MTO and DSO divisions.
The Advanced Technology Office (ATO) researched, demonstrated, and developed high payoff projects in maritime, communications, special operations, command and control, and information assurance and survivability mission areas.
The Special Projects Office (SPO) researched, developed, demonstrated, and transitioned technologies focused on addressing present and emerging national challenges. SPO investments ranged from the development of enabling technologies to the demonstration of large prototype systems. SPO developed technologies to counter the emerging threat of underground facilities used for purposes ranging from command-and-control, to weapons storage and staging, to the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. SPO developed significantly more cost-effective ways to counter proliferated, inexpensive cruise missiles, UAVs, and other platforms used for weapon delivery, jamming, and surveillance. SPO invested in novel space technologies across the spectrum of space control applications including rapid access, space situational awareness, counterspace, and persistent tactical grade sensing approaches including extremely large space apertures and structures.
The Information Systems Office (ISO) in the 1990s developed system applications of advanced information technologies. It was a predecessor to the Information Exploitation Office.
A 1991 reorganization created several offices which existed throughout the early 1990s:
The Electronic Systems Technology Office combined areas of the Defense Sciences Office and the Defense Manufacturing Office. This new office will focus on the boundary between general-purpose computers and the physical world, such as sensors, displays and the first few layers of specialized signal-processing that couple these modules to standard computer interfaces.
The Computing Systems Technology Office combined functions of the old Information Sciences and Tactical Technology office. The office "will work scalable parallel and distributed heterogeneous computing systems technologies", DoD said.
The Software and Intelligent Systems Technology Office and the Computing Systems office will have responsibility associated with the Presidential High-Performance Computing Initiative. The Software office will also be responsible for "software systems technology, machine intelligence and software engineering".
The Land Systems Office was created to develop advanced land vehicle and anti-armor systems, once the domain of the Tactical Technology Office
The Undersea Warfare Office combined areas of the Advanced Vehicle Systems and Tactical Technology offices to develop and demonstrate submarine stealth and counterstealth and automation.
Reorganization in 2010 merged two offices:
The Transformational Convergence Technology Office (TCTO) mission was to advance new crosscutting capabilities derived from a broad range of emerging technological and social trends, particularly in areas related to computing and computing-reliant subareas of the life sciences, social sciences, manufacturing, and commerce. The TCTO was folded into the I2O in 2010.
A list of DARPA's active and archived projects is available on the agency's website. Because of the agency's fast pace, programs constantly start and stop based on the needs of the U.S. government. Structured information about some of the DARPA's contracts and projects is publicly available.
Blackjack: a 2018+ program to develop and test military satellite constellation technologies with a variety of "military-unique sensors and payloads [attached to] commercial satellite buses. ...as an 'architecture demonstration intending to show the high military utility of global LEO constellations and mesh networks of lower size, weight, and cost spacecraft nodes.' ... The idea is to demonstrate that 'good enough' payloads in LEO can perform military missions, augment existing programs, and potentially perform 'on par or better than currently deployed exquisite space systems.'"
Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE): Modular software architecture for UAVs to pass information to each other in contested environments to identify and engage targets with limited operator direction. (2015)
Combat Zones That See: "track everything that moves" in a city by linking up a massive network of surveillance cameras
Computational Weapon Optic (CWO): Computer rifle scope that combines various features into one optic.
SafeGenes: a synthetic biology project to program "undo" sequences into gene editing programs (2016)
Satellite Remote Listening System: a satellite mounted system that can eavesdrop on a targeted area on the surface of the planet in coordination with satellite cameras. This project is in its infant stage.
Sensor plants: DARPA "is working on a plan to use plants to gather intelligence information" through DARPA’s Advanced Plant Technologies (APT) program, which aims to control the physiology of plants in order to detect chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. (2017)
System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE): Combinations of aircraft, weapons, sensors, and mission systems that distribute air warfare capabilities across a large number of interoperable manned and unmanned platforms. (2015)
Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT): Digitized, integrated technologies that improve infantry squads' awareness, precision, and influence. (2015)
SyNAPSE: Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics
SIGMA: A network of radiological detection devices the size of smart phones that can detect small amounts of radioactive materials. The devices are paired with larger detector devices along major roads and bridges. (2016)
High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP): An ionospheric research program jointly funded by DARPA, the U.S. Air Force's AFRL and the U.S. Navy's NRL. The most prominent area during this research was the high-power radio frequency transmitter facility, which tested the use of the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI).
Phoenix: A 2012–early-2015 satellite project with the aim to recycle retired satellite parts into new on-orbit assets. The project was initiated in July 2012 with plans for system launches no earlier than 2016. At the time, Satlet tests in low Earth orbit were projected to occur as early as 2015.
DARPA is well known as a high-tech government agency, and as such has many appearances in popular fiction. Some realistic references to DARPA in fiction are as "ARPA" in Tom Swift and the Visitor from Planet X (DARPA consults on a technical threat), in episodes of television program The West Wing (the ARPA-DARPA distinction), the television program Numb3rs (DARPA research into creating the first self-aware computer), and in the motion picture Executive Decision (use of a one-of-a-kind experimental prototype in an emergency).
DARPA is depicted in the visual novel/anime series Steins;Gate 0 as DURPA, a shadowy government organization that has been researching time travel in order to gain an advantage against Russia, which is also developing time travel in the upcoming World War III.
^"$ 520 million appropriation and a $ 2 billion budget plan." Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 20). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
^"Roy Johnson, ARPA’s first director, was, like his boss, a businessman. At age fifty-two, he had been personally recruited by McElroy, who convinced him to leave a $160,000 job with General Electric and take an $18,000 job in Washington." Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 21). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
^"Herbert York, whom Killian had been keen on, was given the job and moved to ARPA from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory." Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 21). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
^"The staff of ARPA saw an opportunity to redefine the agency as a group that would take on the really advanced "far-out" research....The scientific community, predictably, rallied to the call for a reinvention of ARPA as a "high-risk high-gain" research sponsor— the kind of R& D shop they had dreamed of all along" Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (pp. 21,22). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
^"In early 1961 ARPA’s second director, Brigadier General Austin W. Betts, resigned" Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (pp. 23,24) Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
^"Ruina raised ARPA’s annual budget to $ 250 million." Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (p. 23). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
^"J. C. R. Licklider." Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet (pp. 27–39). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
^projects in ballistic missile defense and nuclear test detection, couched in terms of basic research, were the top priorities." Lyon, Matthew; Hafner, Katie (1999-08-19). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet (p. 23). Simon & Schuster. Kindle edition.
^Hsu, Jeremy (June 22, 2018). "Experts Bet on First Deepfakes Political Scandal". IEEE Spectrum. The threat is real enough that the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has funded a Media Forensics project aimed at finding ways to automatically screen for Deepfake videos and similarly deceptive examples of digital media.
Belfiore, Michael (2009). The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs. Harper. ISBN 9780061577932. OCLC310399265. William Saletan writes of Belfiore's book that "His tone is reverential and at times breathless, but he captures the agency’s essential virtues: boldness, creativity, agility, practicality and speed." (Saletan, William (December 24, 2009). "The Body Electric". The New York Times.)
Castell, Manuel, The Network Society: A Cross-cultural Perspective, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, UK, 2004.
Jacobsen, Annie, The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency. Little, Brown and Company. 2015. ISBN 0316371769. OCLC900012161.
The Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) is a concept for an unmanned VTOL flight module that can transport various payloads. The concept started as the TX (Transformer) in 2009 for a terrain-independent transportation system centered on a ground vehicle that could be configured into a VTOL air vehicle and carry four troops. ARES' primary function is still the same as TX, to use flight to avoid ground-based transportation threats like ambushes and IEDs for units that don't have helicopters for those missions. It is to be powered by twin tilting ducted fans and have its own power system, fuel, digital flight controls, and remote command-and-control interfaces. The flight module will have different detachable mission modules for specific purposes including cargo delivery, CASEVAC, and ISR. Up to 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) of payload will be carried by a module.
Atlas is a bipedal humanoid robot primarily developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics, with funding and oversight from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The 1.8-meter (6 ft) robot is designed for a variety of search and rescue tasks, and was unveiled to the public on July 11, 2013.
BigDog was a dynamically stable quadruped military robot created in 2005 by Boston Dynamics (now owned by SoftBank Group) with Foster-Miller, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Harvard University Concord Field Station. It was funded by DARPA, but the project was shelved after the BigDog was deemed too loud for combat.
The Boeing X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle is a concept demonstrator for a next generation of completely autonomous military aircraft, developed by Boeing's Phantom Works. Manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, the X-45 was a part of DARPA's J-UCAS project.
The Boeing X-46 was a proposed unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) that was to be developed in conjunction with the U.S. Navy and DARPA as a naval carrier-based variant of the Boeing X-45 UCAV being developed for the U.S. Air Force. Two contracts for technology demonstrators were awarded in June 2000, to Boeing for the X-46A and to Northrop Grumman for the X-47A.
However, in April 2003, the Air Force and the Navy efforts were formally combined under the joint DARPA/United StatesF/Navy J-UCAV program, later renamed J-UCAS (Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems), and the X-46 program was terminated as redundant.A Navy-only N-UCAS demonstrator program started in the summer of 2006. Boeing will use material developed for the X-46 and X-45 to propose the X-45N as a naval UCAV demonstrator.
The Boeing X-50A Dragonfly, formerly known as the Canard Rotor/Wing Demonstrator, was a VTOL rotor wing experimental unmanned aerial vehicle that was developed by Boeing and DARPA to demonstrate the principle that a helicopter's rotor could be stopped in flight and act as a fixed wing, enabling it to transition between fixed-wing and rotary-wing flight.
The X-50A built upon the work of the Sikorsky S-72 X-Wing program of the 1980s by designing the vehicle as a multi-mode aircraft from the ground up. The X-50A was one of two projects funded by DARPA in its "Heliplane" program.Neither of the two prototype aircraft ever successfully transitioned to full forward flight. DARPA withdrew funding for the X-50 program in late 2006 due to inherent design flaws.
Charles M. Herzfeld (June 29, 1925 – February 23, 2017) was an American scientist and scientific manager, particularly for the US Government. He is best known for his time as Director of DARPA, during which, among other things, he personally took the decision to authorize the creation of the ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet.
The DARPA Falcon Project (Force Application and Launch from CONtinental United States) is a two-part joint project between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the United States Air Force (USAF) and is part of Prompt Global Strike. One part of the program aims to develop a reusable, rapid-strike Hypersonic Weapon System (HWS), now retitled the Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle (HCV), and the other is for the development of a launch system capable of accelerating an HCV to cruise speeds, as well as launching small satellites into Earth orbit. This two-part program was announced in 2003 and continued into 2006.Blackswift was a project announced under the Falcon banner using a fighter-sized unmanned aircraft which would take off from a runway and accelerate to Mach 6 (7,350 km/h; 4,567 mph) before completing its mission and landing again. The memo of understanding between DARPA and the USAF on Blackswift—also known as the HTV-3X—was signed in September 2007. The Blackswift HTV-3X did not receive needed funding and was canceled in October 2008.Current research under FALCON program is centered on X-41 Common Aero Vehicle (CAV), a common aerial platform for hypersonic ICBMs and cruise missiles, as well as civilian RLVs and ELVs. The prototype Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) first flew on 22 April 2010; the second test flew 11 August 2011. Both flights ended prematurely.
The DARPA Grand Challenge is a prize competition for American autonomous vehicles, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the most prominent research organization of the United States Department of Defense. Congress has authorized DARPA to award cash prizes to further DARPA's mission to sponsor revolutionary, high-payoff research that bridges the gap between fundamental discoveries and military use. The initial DARPA Grand Challenge was created to spur the development of technologies needed to create the first fully autonomous ground vehicles capable of completing a substantial off-road course within a limited time. The third event, the DARPA Urban Challenge extended the initial Challenge to autonomous operation in a mock urban environment. The most recent Challenge, the 2012 DARPA Robotics Challenge, focused on autonomous emergency-maintenance robots.
The third driverless car competition of the DARPA Grand Challenge, was commonly known as the DARPA Urban Challenge. It took place on November 3, 2007 at the site of the now-closed George Air Force Base (currently used as Southern California Logistics Airport), in Victorville, California (Google map), in the West of the United States. Discovery's Science channel followed a few of the teams and covered the Urban Challenge in its Robocars series.
Darpa (Persian: دارپا, also Romanized as Dārpā) is a village in Chahar Gonbad Rural District, in the Central District of Sirjan County, Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 62, in 11 families.
George Harry Heilmeier (May 22, 1936 – April 21, 2014) was an American engineer, manager, and a pioneering contributor to liquid crystal displays (LCDs), for which he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Heilmeier's work is an IEEE Milestone.
The Northrop Grumman X-47 is a demonstration Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. The X-47 began as part of DARPA's J-UCAS program, and is now part of the United States Navy's UCAS-D program to create a carrier-based unmanned aircraft. Unlike the Boeing X-45, initial Pegasus development was company-funded. The original vehicle carries the designation X-47A Pegasus, while the follow-on naval version is designated X-47B.
Stanley is an autonomous car created by Stanford University's Stanford Racing Team in cooperation with the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL). It won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, earning the Stanford Racing Team the 2 million dollar prize.
Sun-1 was the first generation of UNIX computer workstations and servers produced by Sun Microsystems, launched in May 1982. These were based on a CPU board designed by Andy Bechtolsheim while he was a graduate student at Stanford University and funded by DARPA. The Sun-1 systems ran SunOS 0.9, a port of UniSoft's UniPlus V7 port of Seventh Edition UNIX to the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, with no window system. Early Sun-1 workstations and servers used the original Sun logo, a series of red "U"s laid out in a square, rather than the more familiar purple diamond shape used later.
The first Sun-1 workstation was sold to Solo Systems in May 1982. The Sun-1/100 was used in the original Lucasfilm EditDroid non-linear editing system.
USA-212 was the first flight of the Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 1 (X-37B OTV-1), an American unmanned robotic vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing (VTHL) spaceplane.
It was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on 22 April 2010, and operated in low Earth orbit. Its designation is part of the USA series.
The spaceplane is operated by the United States Air Force, which has not revealed the specific identity of the spaceship's payload for the mission. The Air Force has stated only that the spacecraft would "demonstrate various experiments and allow satellite sensors, subsystems, components, and associated technology to be transported into space and back."
The DARPA XS-1 is an experimental spaceplane/booster with planned capability to deliver small satellites into orbit for the U.S. Military. It is reported to be designed to be reusable as frequently as once a day, with a stated goal of doing so for 10 days straight. The XS-1 is intended to directly replace the "first stage" of a multistage rocket that will be capable of hypersonic flight at suborbital altitude, enabling one or more expendable upper stages to separate and deploy a payload into low Earth orbit. The XS-1 would then return to Earth, where it could ostensibly be serviced fast enough to repeat the process at least once every 24 hours.In May 2017 DARPA selected Boeing for Phase 2/3 to build and test the XS-1 (now called the Experimental Spaceplane program). Test flights are scheduled to start no earlier than 2020.
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