Traditional space transportation is based on vertically launched expendable rockets. However, reusable rocket-propelled “spaceplanes” for horizontal take-off offer major cost savings as well as fundamental improvements in flexibility and safety. Spaceplanes can operate similar to airplanes from airports and do not require a launch pad with complex and expensive infrastructure. Studies like ESA-FESTIP identified such vehicles as the most economic solution for future spaceflight.
In order to validate the technology and accelerate the spaceplane development, POLARIS has been developing a series of scaled flight demonstrators.