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starship-design: Something a bit more down to earth.

Air Force wants a spaceplane.  

Av Week a couple weeks back did an artical on the Air Fource space comand and
their interest in fielding a squadron of spaceplanes.  The listed possible
missions as: launching small 2000-3000 lb satelights, on call orbital
reconisance, orbital comunication relay, re-entry and delivery of weapons and
cargo to the surface, and re-entry and acting as an air superiority fighter.
 Such a craft could get anywhere on earth in about 40 minutees.

They are looking into flying x-plane concept vehicals in the 2002-2003 time
period.  RFPs and all that would follow, and they hope to have a sqafdron in
operation by 2030.  They are hoping this can be the AF's next big combat
aircraft contract after JSF (the F=16, F-18, Harrier replacement).

They said they had no preconceptions about it being one stage, 2 stage,
vertical launch, etc.  But felt current technology would be enough to develop
and field development of such a system.