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Japan test flies RLV technology demonstrator
Posted: Tue, Jun 26, 2001, 12:41 AM ET (0441 GMT)
The Japanese space agency ISAS successfully performed a low-altitude test flight last week of a vehicle designed to test technologies for a future single-stage reusable launch vehicle (RLV). The VT-6 vehicle took off vertically from the Noshiro Test Site in Japan on Friday and reached an altitude of 9 meters before landing, also vertically. The cone-shaped VT-6, 3.5 meters across and weighing 600 kg, is superficially similar to the DC-X Delta Clipper vehicle that tested vertical takeoff and landing technology between 1993 and 1996 for the BMDO and NASA. The flight, the first of several planned, is part of a small-scale program by ISAS to investigate technologies for future reusable, single-stage launch vehicles. News of the successful test flight was announced by Yoshi Funatsu of the Japanese Rocket Society at a space tourism conference in Washington Monday morning.
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