C-17 Drops Launch Vehicle

C-17 Drops Launch Vehicle: An Air Force C-17 flying over Edwards AFB, Calif., released a mockup of a Falcon Small Launch Vehicle, the second in a series of tests with the 65-foot, 65,000-pound mockup booster. The June 14 test vehicle was also the heaviest single item airdropped by the C-17, so far, says Kristen Pearson, 418th Flight Test Squadron Falcon program manager. The joint Air Force-DARPA Falcon SLV program is designed to produce a new low-cost method to boost satellites into low-Earth-orbit, but the Air Force also is using it to expand the C-17’s airdrop capabilities. AirLaunch LLC of Kirkland, Wash., builds the test SLVs, which are designed to simulate the Quickreach booster rocket.