Kennedy Space Center NextGen Website

Reusable Booster System

DARPA XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane artist rendering


Kennedy Space Center and other NASA centers are collaborating with DARPA and Boeing on the eXperimental Spaceplane Program (XSP)

"We recently completed fabrication of one of the most crucial parts of the vehicle – liquid oxygen propellant cryotank"


"Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully fired its AR-22 booster rocket engine an unprecedented 10 times in 240 hours at NASA Stennis Space Center"

Also see:


"Other technologies in the XS-1 design include:

  • Advanced, lightweight composite cryogenic propellant tanks to hold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants
  • Hybrid composite-metallic wings and control surfaces able to withstand the physical stresses of suborbital hypersonic flight and temperatures of more than 2,000oF
  • Automated flight-termination and other technologies for autonomous flight and operations..."



  • [Paper] [Presentation] Edgar Zapata, NASA KSC, "New Approaches in Reusable Booster System Life Cycle Cost Modeling," Joint Army Navy NASA Air Force (JANNAF) conference, April 29-May 3, 2013.

The RBS LCC Model in ModelCenter - Design of Experiments

2011: “About three-quarters of the 84 recommendations in the EELV should-cost review are associated with overhead and indirect costs”
-Aviation Week & Space Technology, "USAF Test Launch Targets Broader Liftoff Market," May 9, 2011
1991: “Experience at these firms indicates that overhead had grown from about 38 percent of total business in 1973 to about 49 percent by 1987. Extrapolation of this trend indicates that overhead will reach about 54 percent by the year 2000.”
-Stephen J. Balut, Thomas P. Frazier, James Bui, "Estimating Fixed and Variable Costs of Airframe Manufacturers”
1990: “Overhead costs were neither visible nor understood, so common practice was to use poorly documented (sometimes proprietary) factors to "burden" the labor estimates. The practice has persisted, even though direct manufacturing labor has nearly disappeared as a cost driver, and overhead has grown to represent more than half the cost of defense systems, and may rise to represent two-thirds of these costs."
-James McCullough, Stephen Balut, "Trends in a Sample of Defense Aircraft Contractors Costs”


Reusable Booster on runway


  • [Paper] [Presentation] Edgar Zapata, NASA KSC, "Air Force Reusable Booster System: A Quick-look, Design Focused Modeling and Cost Analysis Study," Joint Army Navy NASA Air Force (JANNAF) conference, December 5-8, 2011.
  • Reusable Booster System Flow

  • Bruce Thieman, Air Force Research Laboratory, Responsive Space Access, Capability Lead & Hypersonics Area Planner, "Next Generation Space Access (pdf)," Defense Technical Information Center, June 28, 2011
  • Danny Zeno, Ted Mosteller, Carey McCleskey, Robert Johnson, Jason Hopkins, Thomas Miller, NASA KSC, "NASA KSC/AFRL Reusable Booster System (RBS) Concept of Operations (ConOps) (pdf)," 2010.

(Public commons / no attribution required) Picture of 2 buildings, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Processing Facilities now transferred and modified for the X-37 spaceplane

The Space Shuttle Orbiter Processing (OPF) facilities now transferred to the X-37 project


NASA X-Vehicles: