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X-40A passes drop test
Posted: Thu, Mar 15, 2001, 12:32 PM ET (1732 GMT)
X-40A drop test An Air Force experimental vehicle, on loan to NASA, successfully completed the first in a series of drop tests from a helicopter Wednesday. The X-40A vehicle was dropped from a Chinook helicopter 4500 meters above Edwards Air Force Base in California Wednesday morning. The unmanned vehicle glided to an "apparently perfect" landing at the air base 74 seconds after the release, according to a NASA spokesperson. The test is the first of seven for the X-40A, an 85-percent scale model of the X-37, a NASA vehicle that will eventually fly into space on the shuttle and back to Earth on its own to test technologies for future reusable launch vehicles. The X-40A was originally built by Boeing for the Air Force as a prototype of a proposed Space Maneuver Vehicle (SMV); that effort was eventually folded into NASA's X-37 program under a cooperative agreement between the space agency, Boeing, and the Air Force. The X-40A did make one previous, similar drop test in New Mexico in 1998 as part of the Air Force's SMV work.
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