Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: NASA
American unmanned spaceplane. The Boeing X-37 Space Maneuver Vehicle began as a subscale version of a proposed USAF manned 21st Century spaceplane. The smaller-scale X-40 tested some technologies prior to completion of the X-37A. The X-37B was the reusable space vehicle. Operational, first launch 2010.04.22.

The X-37 Approach and Landing Test Vehicle (ALTV) was an experimental autonomous vehicle designed to demonstrate advanced space flight technologies. Drop tests of the X-37 ALTV were to be conducted at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The ALTV would be dropped five times from NASA's B-52H aircraft from approximately 12 km. Flight research objectives included verification of autonomous landing, demonstration of integrated vehicle and range operation through a Flight Operations Control Center (FOCC), verification of predicted stability and aerodynamic control effectiveness, and verification of ability to conduct flight operations for various wind speeds and different entry azimuths.

The forerunner of the X-37 ALTV, the X-40A, successfully completed a series of seven approach and landing tests at NASA Dryden in 2000 and 2001. About 20 percent smaller than the X-37, the X-40A was released from a helicopter at 4600 m during the series of unpowered glide flights. These flights validated the autonomous flight control system planned for the X-37, thereby reducing the risk of the X-37 program.

The vehicle was assembled at Boeing's High Desert Assembly, Integration and Test Facility in Palmdale, California. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., managed the X-37 program. NASA Dryden was responsible for the X-37 flight activities.

Gross mass: 3,200 kg (7,000 lb).
Height: 8.38 m (27.49 ft).
Span: 4.57 m (14.99 ft).
First Launch: 2010.04.22.
Last Launch: 2011.03.05.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Boeing American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Aerospace, Seattle, USA. More...

X-37 Chronology

2010 April 22 - . 23:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 501.
  • USA 212 - . Payload: X-37B OTV 1. Mass: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: X-37. Duration: 224.39 days. USAF Sat Cat: 36514 . COSPAR: 2010-015A. Summary: Reusable unmanned military orbital spaceplane. Landed successfully at Vandenberg at 09:16 GMT on 3 December..

2011 March 5 - . 22:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 501.
  • USA 226 - . Payload: OTV-2 F1. Mass: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb). Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: X-37. USAF Sat Cat: 37375 . COSPAR: 2011-010A. Second unmanned Orbital Test Vehicle X-37B reusable spaceplane. Possibly placed in a 400 x 420 km x 40 deg orbit like that used by OTV-1; mission expected to last 9 months with automatic landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Centaur AV-026 upper stage was deorbited over the Indian Ocean on the first orbit.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use