For those who would defame the development of spaceplanes, especially suborbital ones, it behooves me to insert a few words here in their defense. It may seem that such vehicles are nothing more than the space toys of rich entrepreneurs, a contrivance of those with too much time and too much money on their hands. In truth, suborbital spaceplanes represent the first toddling steps in the development of real spaceships. We are talking about vessels that, marshalling immense energies, will one day ply the interplanetary spaceways and sail the cosmic sea. We are not talking about modified ballistic missiles used to start spacecraft coasting toward their eventual targets. Suborbital spaceplanes really are baby spaceships, and as babies their abilities are understandably limited. It is entirely fitting that they would be helped into flight by the strong wing of a mothership.
And yet, the potential of the infant spaceplane is far greater than even the most powerful aircraft ever conceived....
KeywordsSpace Shuttle Rocket Engine Launch Vehicle Ballistic Missile Microgravity Experiment
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