Plans for trials of a reusable satellite launcher whose rocket sections will be parachuted back to earth have been presented to the us Federal Aviation Authority. Kistler Aerospace, based in Kirkland, Washington, is behind the project, hopes it will pave the way for a new generation of reusable launchers. These, it claims, will cut the cost of a satellite launch from $100 million to $20 m. The company plans to start flight-tests of the launcher late next year and hopes to have a satellite-launching fleet fully operational by 1999.
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