The X-40A vehicle successfully performed a second free flight test today at
Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif. The X-40A was lifted by an
Army Chinook helicopter to an altitude of 15,050 feet (4,587 meters) and
released at 8:45 a.m. PDT, reaching a speed of 428 feet (130.5 meters) per
second to complete the test when the wheels rolled to a stop at 8:47 a.m.

The X-40A’s free flight and landing tests are being conducted as part of
NASA’s X-37 program, intended to reduce the risk of flight testing the X-37
experimental re-entry vehicle. The X-37 will enable NASA to test advanced
technologies in the harsh environment of space and in returning through
Earth’s atmosphere. The X-40A is an 85 percent scale version of the X-37.

Today’s X-40A test objectives focused on complex vehicle maneuvers, while
the first free flight test on March 14 focused on a straight-in vehicle
approach. Both tests demonstrated flight control and autonomous landing
systems. A series of up to seven free flights is planned.

The X-40A test vehicle, on loan from the Air Force, was built for the Air
Force by The Boeing Company at its Seal Beach, Calif., facility. It was free
flight tested once before, in August 1998 at Holloman Air Force Base in
southern New Mexico, for the Air Force’s Space Maneuver Vehicle program.

Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., NASA’s lead center for
space transportation systems development, manages the X-37 program. Dryden
Flight Research Center is responsible for the X-37/X-40A flight test