The Air Force Research Laboratory and Generation Orbit Launch Services will move forward to the farbication phase of an air-dropped rocket after the program completed a critical design review.
AFRL aims to determine the potential of its X-60A project to increase hypersonic flight testing frequency and help lower the cost of maturing such technology, the military service said Thursday.
The rocket, which uses the Hadley engine powered by liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants, is designed to fly at a speed of more than Mach 5.
Generation Orbit was selected in October to help the AFRL’s high speed systems division build X-60A. The system is the first of its kind to get an “X” designation under the Air Force’s Small Business Innovative Research program.
X-60A is scheduled to take its initial flight in 2020 from Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Fla.