Air Force to Test Boeing-Built X-37 Spaceplane Next Year

x-37sm2

My friend Clark Lindsey over at Hobby Space points to this story at Space.com concerning the Air Force’s Boeing-built X-37 space plane test vehicle:

Tucked inside the shroud of an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), the winged craft will be boosted out of Cape Canaveral, Florida, orbit the Earth and then make an auto-pilot landing in California.

The X-37B OTV-1 (Orbital Test Vehicle 1) is currently on the launch manifest for January 2010, explained U.S. Air Force Captain Elizabeth Aptekar, who works in media operations for the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.

“The vehicle is ready for the shipping process, which includes minor close-out activities,” Aptekar told SPACE.com. “The vehicle will ship at the conclusion of the pre-ship activities … which should be approximately 60 days before its launch date.”

Read the full story.