Colorado

Jan 16, 2010 2:05 PM by Associated Press

Air Force Academy cadets test-fire rocket system

The Air Force Academy says cadets have successfully test-fired a FalconLaunch-8 rocket propulsion system, though results were a bit off from what they expected.

The system is intended to produce a 4,000-pound peak thrust during a 7.8-second burn. Astronautics department head Col. Marty France says initial data from the test-fire Friday show 3,300 pounds of thrust were produced for about a 10-second burn. Cadets plan to analyze the results.

The FalconLaunch-8 is scheduled to blast off from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in April. They would carry experimental winglets designed for performance testing at high speeds. If they work, the winglets could be used on reusable space vehicles.

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