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Boeing X-40A-NASA.jpg
Boeing X-40A on a descent glide slope
Role Glide test vehicle
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing Phantom Works
First flight August 11, 1998
(dropped by UH-60 Black Hawk)[1][2][3]
Status Retired May 2001
Primary users AFRL
Number built 1

The Boeing X-40A Space Maneuver Vehicle was a test platform for the X-37 Future-X Reusable Launch Vehicle.


The unpiloted X-40 was built to 85% scale to test aerodynamics and navigation of the X-37 Future-X Reusable Launch Vehicle project.

After the first drop test in August 1998 the vehicle was transferred to NASA, which modified it. Between April 4 and May 19, 2001, the vehicle successfully conducted seven free flights.[3] In 2001 it successfully demonstrated the glide capabilities of the X-37's fat-bodied, short-winged design and validated the proposed guidance system.


The first X-40 drop test occurred at Holloman AFB, New Mexico on August 11, 1998 at 06:59. This was a joint Air Force/Boeing project known as Space Maneuver Vehicle. It was released from an altitude of approximately 9,200 feet (2,800 m) and 2.5 miles (4.0 km) away from the end of Runway 04 by a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter[1][2][3] (later tests used the CH-47 Chinook helicopter).[2][3] The vehicle dove to the runway in an approach similar to the space shuttle's, flared, and landed left of the runway centerline. Its drag chutes successfully deployed, and the vehicle tracked to within 7 feet (2.1 m) of the centerline and stopped at a distance of slightly more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m).

Specifications (X-40)

General characteristics

  • Length: 21 ft (6.4 m)
  • Wingspan: 11 ft (3.4 m)
  • Height: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,500 lb (1,134 kg)
  • Useful load: 1,200 lb (540 kg)


  • Maximum speed: 300 mph (480 km/h, 260 kn)

Honeywell 12-channel Space Integrated GPS/INS (SIGI) system

See also

Related development

Related lists


  1. ^ a b "Military Spaceplane X-40 Space Maneuver Vehicle Integrated Tech Testbed". Military Space Programs. Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c X-40 Space Maneuver Vehicle (SMV) at
  3. ^ a b c d Boeing X-37 / X-40 page at Designation-Systems.Net

External links

This page was last edited on 27 April 2021, at 19:26
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