Headlines > News > Boeing-built Orbital Test Vehicle X-37B Begins 1st Flight

Boeing-built Orbital Test Vehicle X-37B Begins 1st Flight

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:42 am via: Boeing
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Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced the successful launch of the Boeing-built Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), also known as the X-37B, for the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. The OTV was launched on an Atlas V rocket into a low Earth orbit on April 22 at 7:52 p.m. Eastern time from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 41.

“The X-37B has the potential to bring to space the flexibility that unmanned systems provide warfighters and combatant commanders today,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

X-37B ready to go. Photo Credit: Boeing

X-37B ready to go. Photo Credit: Boeing

“With the ability to be launched into space and then land on its own, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is an example of the kind of innovation that Boeing has been doing for decades to advance aviation, space systems, and now unmanned systems. Close teamwork between the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the United Launch Alliance Atlas team, and the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station made this launch a success.”

The vehicle will be used to demonstrate a reliable, reusable unmanned space test platform for the Air Force. Program objectives include space experimentation, risk reduction, and concept-of-operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.

“The Orbital Test Vehicle combines the best of aircraft and spacecraft to enable flexible and responsive missions,” said Paul Rusnock, Boeing vice president of Experimental Systems and program director for the X-37B. “This first flight will demonstrate the readiness of the X-37B to begin serving the Air Force as it continues to investigate ways to make space access more routine, affordable and responsive.”

Boeing’s commitment to this space-based unmanned vehicle spans a decade and includes support to the Air Force Research Lab’s X-40 program, NASA’s X-37 program, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s X-37 approach, landing and test vehicle (ALTV) program.

Boeing program management, engineering, test and mission support functions for the OTV program are conducted at Boeing sites in Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and El Segundo, Calif.

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