Posted by John McHale
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., 24 April 22 2010. A new U.S. Air Force unmanned spacecraft, called the X-37B or Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) launched into space on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral.
Boeing built the X-37B for the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. 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 X-37B has the potential to bring to space the flexibility that unmanned systems provide warfighters and combatant commanders today," says Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "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 Orbital Test Vehicle combines the best of aircraft and spacecraft to enable flexible and responsive missions," says 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 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.