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Space.com: X Prize Contenders Prepare for Drop Test

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:49 pm
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chabot imageAnother contender in the private space race to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize will mark a milestone Saturday when they drop a rocket crew cabin into Lake Ontario.

The Canadian Arrow team, led by Geoff Sheerin of London, Ontario, hope to test the durability of human-carrying craft a well as run through water-based spacecraft recovery methods and prepare for upcoming test flights.

“This is a boilerplate crew cabin that will fly in space,” Sheerin told SPACE.com, adding that the capsule may ride in an unmanned test. “No matter what happens, this is an important step.”

Arrow’s next plunge

Saturday’s drop test will mark the second time Canadian Arrow team members have turned their crew cabin over to gravity’s whim.

A successful April 15 test saw the Arrow’s crew cabin plummet 30 feet (9.1 meters) from a crane and free fall into a harbor in Sarnia, Ontario. The impact, which occurred at about the same velocities expected in an actual flight, splashed into the water with just over five times the force of gravity.

Tomorrow’s 9:00 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) test, however, will demonstrate how the Canadian Arrow’s cabin performs under a parachute. Team members hope the test will ensure their crew compartment won’t tumble during descent or tangle in its parachute.

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