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The age of the spaceplane upon us, and it is trans-Pacific, with the U.S. and China the only current active participants. Winged spaceplanes operate as spacecraft in space and aircraft in Earth’s atmosphere, and typically land on runways. They range from hypersonic cruise vehicles (HCV) capable of maneuvering at Mach 5 (3,840+ mph/6,150+ kmh) or more to reusable launch vehicles (RLV)s like the Space Shuttle designed primarily to ferry cargo to orbit and back. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has just released details on the 11 August 2011 test flight of the Force Application and Launch from the Continental U.S. (FALCON) Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2). Constructed by Lockheed Martin Corp., this HCV is part of a multiyear DARPA effort to develop an air-breathing platform that could deliver a…