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NASA funds X-37 flight test
Posted: Thu, Nov 21, 2002, 12:17 PM ET (1717 GMT)
X-37 illustration (NASA/MSFC) NASA announced late Wednesday that it has awarded Boeing a $301 million contract to continue work on the X-37 experimental vehicle leading up to an orbital test flight in 2006. The funding, provided through the Space Launch Initiative program, will allow continued development of the X-37, a joint NASA-Boeing program that started in 1999 to test technologies for future reusable launch vehicles. The funding includes a series of approach and landing tests scheduled for 2004, leading up to an orbital test flight in mid-2006. NASa plans to use the X-37 to test technologies that will be used on the Orbital Space Plane concept announced earlier this month. The X-37 was based on a prototype for the Space Maneuver Vehicle (SMV), a proposed Air Force reusable spacecraft. The Air Force initially provided funding for the X-37 effort, but announced last year that it did not plan to spend additional money on the program. The X-40A, an 85-percent scale version of the X-37 developed for the SMV program, completed a series of drop tests as part of the X-37 program last year. NASA is also awarding Lockheed Martin $51 million through SLI to develop a reusable simulator to test launch pad abort techniques.
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