The Radian spaceplane will “fill the efficiency and capability gaps that exist with traditional vertical rockets,” the company said in a press release. The vehicle will be capable of a wide range of space operations including the delivery of people and light cargo to low earth orbit with aircraft-like operations.
"To date, a low cost space transport solution has been lacking that can get humans and cargo to and from space at a highly responsive rate," said Brett Rome, venture partner at Fine Structure Ventures. "Radian is well positioned to fill that gap with disruptive technology that helps enable the emerging space economy."
The ability to fly to space, perform a mission, return, refuel, and fly again almost immediately enables in-space and terrestrial missions that are simply not possible with traditional vehicles, the company said.
"Wings offer capabilities and mission types that are simply not possible with traditional vertical takeoff right circular cylinder rockets," said Livingston Holder, Radian's co-founder and former head of the Future Space Transportation and X-33 program at Boeing. "What we are doing is hard, but it's no longer impossible thanks to significant advancements in materials science, miniaturization, and manufacturing technologies.”
“We are not focused on tourism, we are dedicated to missions that make life better on our own planet, like research, in-space manufacturing, and terrestrial observation, as well as critical new missions like rapid global delivery right here on Earth," said Richard Humphrey, CEO and co-founder of Radian.
The company already has launch service agreements with commercial space stations, in-space manufacturers, satellite, and cargo companies, as well as agreements with the U.S. government and selected foreign governments.
"We're talking about materially enabling an industry that's expected to grow to $1.4 trillion in less than a decade,” said Doug Greenlaw, a former chief executive of Lockheed Martin and one of Radian's investors and strategic advisors.
The addressable commercial market opportunity for Radian's disruptive launch vehicle is estimated to be $200 billion, the company said.