Air-breathing planes: the spaceships of the future?

Getting to space has never been simple. A standing army of thousands is needed to launch the space shuttle, land it safely, and refurbish it so it is once again ready for flight.

And even the most basic space rockets require multiple stages, whose weight is mostly taken up by oxidisers needed to burn fuel. Rockets launch vertically to minimise the time they spend where Earth’s atmosphere is thickest, shedding stages to reduce their weight as they climb. Read More… [via newscientist]

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