Space: Italian Space Plane Prototype to Attempt Maneuvers

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Space: Italian Space Plane Prototype to Attempt Maneuvers

Post by bystander » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:13 pm

Italian Space Plane Prototype to Attempt Daring Maneuvers
Space.com - 2010 Mar 01
Hypersonic space planes may someday fly into space from airport runways, but an Italian aerospace firm first wants to test whether such futuristic vehicles could still pull off high-speed maneuvers during the fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

The Italian Center for Aerospace Research (CIRA) in Capua, Italy has prepped a new unmanned prototype space plane called Pollux for a possible flight in March. Pollux would perform several test maneuvers while reaching a top re-entry speed of Mach 1.2.
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The U.S. Air Force has its own secretive space plane set for launch later this year.

Russo and CIRA have already begun planning beyond their twin space vehicle prototypes. A hypersonic version that could reach Mach 7 or 8 is on the drawing boards due to collaboration with the University of Queensland and Australia's Department of Defense.

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Space: Secret Military Space Plane Primed For Test Launch

Post by bystander » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:18 pm

Secret Military Space Plane Primed For Test Launch
Space.com - 2010 March 13
A secretive military spacecraft resembling a small space shuttle orbiter is undergoing final processing in Florida for launch on April 19.

The Air Force confirmed the critical preflight milestone in a response to written questions on Thursday.

The 29-foot-long, 15-foot-wide Orbital Test Vehicle arrived in Cape Canaveral, Fla., last month according to the Air Force. The OTV spaceplane was built at a Boeing Phantom Works facility in Southern California.

Managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the OTV program is shrouded in secrecy, but military officials occasionally release information on the the spaceplane's progress.

"It is now undergoing spacecraft processing including checkout, fueling, and encapsulating in the 5-meter fairing of the Atlas 5 [rocket]," an Air Force spokesperson said.

The 11,000-pound vehicle will launch inside the nose cone of the Atlas 5 rocket. Liftoff is currently set for 10 p.m. EDT on April 19.
Oops, this is actually old news

Air Force X-37B spaceplane arrives in Florida for launch
Spaceflight.Now - 2010 Feb 25

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The X-37B/OTV spacecraft undergoes final testing at Boeing. (USAF)