An approach and landing test version of the X-37, a spacecraft designed to
demonstrate technologies for NASA’s Orbital Space Plane Program,
successfully completed structural testing in Huntington Beach, Calif.

The series of ground-based, proof tests are intended to verify the
structural integrity of the X-37 Approach and Landing Test Vehicle. The
tests apply pressure to the vehicle, simulating flight stresses and loads
the X-37 may encounter in flight.

“An initial review of the test data indicates that the vehicle performed as
expected, and we are very pleased,” said Dan Dumbacher, X-37 project manager
at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “Following a
detailed analysis of the results the X-37 Atmospheric Vehicle will be
returned to its assembly facility in Palmdale, Calif., for preparation for
atmospheric flight testing.”

“We are proud of the government and Boeing X-37 team for meeting the
challenge and aggressively moving toward flight testing of the Approach and
Landing Test Vehicle,” said Dumbacher.

The Approach and Landing Test Vehicle is one of two vehicles that comprise
the X-37 Advanced Technology Flight Demonstrator Project. An orbital version
of the vehicle is being developed to test and validate technologies in the
environment of space and will test vehicle system performance during orbital
flight, reentry and landing. Technologies to be demonstrated include thermal
protection systems; autonomous advanced guidance, navigation and control
systems; high temperature structures; conformal reusable insulation; and
high temperature seals. Both vehicles are developed by Boeing Expendable
Launch Systems of Huntington Beach, Calif.

Atmospheric flight tests of the Approach and Landing Test Vehicle are
scheduled for 2004 and flight tests of the Orbital Vehicle are scheduled for

Flight demonstrators like the X-37 have a critical role in validating
technologies that cannot be demonstrated on the ground. NASA is pursuing
these and other space launch technologies that will enable the Agency to
achieve its goal of establishing safe, reliable and affordable access to

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