X-40A aircraft. Technician attaching covers to the nose boom of the robotic X-40A aircraft on a runway after a successful free flight. The X-40A is an 85% scale model of the X-37 space plane, a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) used to test technologies for space vehicles that will reduce the cost of putting payloads into space. Testing the X-40A will reduce possible risks to the larger X-37. Here, the X-40A glided for 74 seconds from a height of 4.5km after release from a Chinook helicopter. The flight and landing, which occurred at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, USA, on 14 March 2001, were controlled by on-board syst- ems. The X-40A was developed by Boeing and NASA.
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