Defense

December 12, 2012

Air Force launches 3rd X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle

Tags:
Maj. Eric Badger
Cape Canaveral, Fla.


In the next installment to improve space capability and further develop an affordable, reusable space vehicle, the Air Force conducted its third X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., Dec. 11, officials said.

The launch comes on the heels of the successful flight of OTV-2, which made an autonomous landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., June 11 after a record 469 days in space.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the strides we’ve made in this program and the success of the X-37B vehicle on the first two flights,” said Richard McKinney, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for Space. “However, it is important to keep in mind that this is an experimental vehicle and a third mission is still relatively young for a test program. This is the first re-flight of a vehicle so that is certainly a key objective for us. We have only just begun what is a very systematic checkout of the system.”

Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre, X-37B program manager for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, explained the third X-37 flight will not only help the Air Force better evaluate and understand the vehicle’s performance characteristics, but this first re-flight is an important step in the program. OTV-1 launched in April 2010 and spent 224 days in orbit before going through the refurbishment process prior to being prepped for this mission, he said.

“This mission will incorporate the lessons learned during the refurbishment process on OTV-1,” said McIntyre. “As the X-37B program is examining the affordability and reusability of space vehicles, validation through testing is vital to the process. We are excited to see how this vehicle performs on a second flight.”

“The X-37B OTV is designed for an on-orbit duration of approximately nine months,” said McIntyre. “As with previous missions, actual duration will depend on the execution of test objectives, on-orbit vehicle performance, and conditions at the landing site.”

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is led by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, and is designed to demonstrate reusable spacecraft technologies for America’s future in space and operating experiments which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth. Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, avionics, high temperature structures and seals, conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, and autonomous orbital flight, reentry and landing.

Officials anticipate multiple missions will be required to satisfy the test program objectives, but the exact number of missions has not been determined.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 24, 2015

News: More than $1 billion in U.S. emergency reconstruction aid goes missing in Afghanistan - A total of $1.3 billion that the Pentagon shipped to its force commanders in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2014 for the most critical reconstruction projects can’t be accounted for by the Defense Department, 60 percent of all such spending under an...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

German defense minister: widely used rifle has no future A widely used assault rifle has “no future” with the German military in its current form, Germany’s defense minister said April 22, escalating a dispute over the weapon’s alleged shortcomings. Ursula von der Leyen said last month that a study showed the G36 rifle has a...
 
 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 

 

Northrop Grumman signs long-term agreement with Raytheon

Northrop Grumman has entered a long-term agreement with Raytheon to supply its LN-200 Inertial Measurement Unit for Raytheon optical targeting systems. The long-term agreement with Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business extends through 2018. The LN-200 provides camera stabilization on optical targeting systems that conduct long-range surveillance and target acquisition for various...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 
AAR-Textron

AAR awarded new contract from Bell Helicopter Textron to support T64 engines

AAR announced April 22 that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. awarded its Defense Systems & Logistics business unit a contract providing warehouse and logistics services in support of upgrading T64 engines for the Bell V-280 Val...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>