Microgravity research has a broad range of scientific applications, including pharmaceuticals, biology, materials science, fluid physics, combustion, and space qualification or electrical and mechanical systems. Each of these research areas have activities that can be shifted from current launch technology to the more economical Rocketplane vehicle.
International Space Station cost overruns have reduced its ability to serve as a platform for microgravity research, spurring demand for alternatives. As a result, researchers pay $1-2 million per flight to launch their payloads in expendable sounding rockets. Rocketplane will provide researchers with greater capability, reliability, and flexibility for less than half the price of a sounding rocket flight.