posted on Feb, 6 2012 @ 09:43 AM
I was fortunate to be able to observe several of the X-40A and X-37A test flights. For unpowered gliders, they were surprisingly noisy as they
approached the runway. They sounded like little jets!
The first flight of the X-37A Approach and Landing Test Vehicle (ALTV) on 7 April 2006 was a little more exciting than mission planners would have
liked. I watched the vehicle make a beautiful approach and touchdown, but it seemed to be using up a lot of runway during the rollout. In fact, it
continued across the concrete overrun and out into the desert, only stopping when the nose gear collapsed. Prior to the flight, project personnel
received patches with the words ALTV FLIGHT TEST TEAM. After the flight, I produced a small number of patches with the words ALTV OFF ROAD TEST TEAM.
Not everyone found them amusing.
The X-40A Space Maneuver Vehicle (SMV) technology demonstrator, originally flown in support of the USAF Military Spaceplane Technology (MiST)
program, served as an 82-percent scale model of the X-37A. Phase I of the program, beginning in September 1997, was based at Holloman AFB, New
Mexico, and included just one free flight. The X-40A was then loaned to NASA to serve as a risk-reduction technology demonstrator for the X-37A ALTV
program. Primary test objectives for the X-40A included validation of vehicle shape, guidance, flight control, and navigation systems and software.
The X-40A arrived at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, California, on 19 May 2000. It made seven captive flights and seven free
Below I have compiled a log of all X-40 free flights. Unfortunately, I don't have the serial number of the UH-60L that was used for the Phase I
Phase I Flight Test - Released from UH-60L
FLT. I-1 / 11 AUG 98 : Landing on Runway 22 at Holloman AFB, New Mexico.
Phase II Flight Tests – Released from CH-47D (81-23831)
FLT. II-1 / 14 MAR 01 : Landing on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB, California.
FLT. II-2 / 12 APR 01 : Landing on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB, California.
FLT. II-3 / 26 APR 01 : Landing on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB, California.
FLT. II-4 / 05 MAY 01 : Landing on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB, California.
FLT. II-5 / 08 MAY 01 : Landing on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB, California.
FLT. II-6 / 16 MAY 01 : Landing on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB, California.
FLT. II-7 / 19 MAY 01 : Landing on Runway 22 at Edwards AFB, California.