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Taxi tests of the unmanned reusable launch vehicle technology demonstrator mated to White Knight started on May 5 (AW&ST June 6, p. 19). This version of the X-37 is an approach and landing test vehicle. In drop tests, the pair will take off from Scaled's Mojave, Calif., base and the X-37 will be released at about 35,000-40,000 ft., but it will touch down at nearby Edwards AFB, Calif., at the end of its gliding flights.
Darpa expects to conduct three drop tests to validate aerodynamic stability, structural integrity and autonomous operations in the approach and landing environment.