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Air Force to take over X-37 project
Posted: Sat, Nov 18, 2006, 4:15 PM ET (2115 GMT)
X-37 illustration (NASA/MSFC) The US Air Force announced Friday that it was developing a reusable space vehicle project using technology based on the X-37 program formerly run by NASA. The Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) project is designed to demonstrate the technologies needed for a reusable spacecraft that could be launched on an existing launch vehicle, carry out operations in orbit, and return to Earth. The OTV, also designated the X-37B, will be based on the X-37, an RLV technology demonstrator developed by NASA in the late 1990s but later cancelled. An X-37 atmospheric test vehicle, designed to demonstrate approach and landing systems, was transferred from NASA to DARPA in 2004 and flight tested on the White Knight aircraft originally built by Scaled Composites for SpaceShipOne flights. The first OTV flight is scheduled for 2008, when the vehicle will be launched on an Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral and land at either Vandenberg or Edwards Air Force Base in California.
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