EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., June 19, 2006 – A C-17 Globemaster III performed the second in a series of tests June 14 by airdropping a 65-foot, 65,000-pound mockup of a booster rocket over Edwards Precision Impact Range Area.
The drop, performed at 29,500 feet above sea level, was part of a project called Falcon Small Launch Vehicle, a joint venture between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force, designed to develop a new method for putting satellites into low-earth orbit.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Dan Fritz, Director of Operations for the 418th Flight Test Squadron and the project pilot for the tests, said that in addition to the testing of the Falcon Small Launch Vehicle system, the 418th Flight Test Squadron is expanding the envelope of the C-17’s capabilities.
“Airspeed, altitude and weight are what we’re expanding on this drop,” Fritz said. “The next drop will be weight and altitude expansion.”
There are two drops planned for this phase of the project according to Kristen Pearson, 418th Flight Test Squadron Falcon program manager.