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X-40A completes test flights
Posted: Mon, May 21, 2001, 11:16 AM ET (1516 GMT)
X-40A drop test The X-40A experimental vehicle completed its NASA-run series of test flights with a seventh and final drop test on Saturday. The X-40A was dropped from a helicopter 4,570 meters above Edwards Air Force Base, California at 9:15 am EDT (1315 GMT) Saturday, and glided to a landing two minutes later after reaching speeds of up to 485 kmph and performing a series of complex maneuvers. The drop test was the last of seven conducted by NASA to test the flight characteristics of the vehicle, an 85-percent scale model of NASA's X-37, a vehicle that will later test a number of technologies for future reusable spacecraft. The Boeing-built X-40A was on loan to NASA from the Air Force, who originally planned the vehicle as a prototype of a proposed Space Maneuver Vehicle. Similar unpowered drop tests of the X-37 are planned for next year before the vehicle is flown in space in 2003.
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