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Test Flight

October 21, 2009
April 21, 2014 | By Amy Hubbard
New SpaceX video shows its Falcon 9 Reusable rocket launching, hovering and then successfully landing again. The video has gone viral online with more than 2.4 million views as of early Monday afternoon. It's the first test flight of the F9R and an exciting moment for Elon Musk and company: Reusable rockets are the holy grail of rocketry . As the Los Angeles Times' W.J. Hennigan recently reported, a reusable system represents sizable savings in development and operation of the rocket.  Musk tweeted about the test flight, which was filmed by drone, on Friday -- the same day that a SpaceX Falcon 9 was blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a NASA cargo mission to the International Space Station.
April 2, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Want to watch a car take flight? You are in luck. Terrafugia, makers of Transition -- the world's first flying car -- has released video of a production-type prototype flying over Plattsburgh, N.Y. today. The flight was the first successful test of the two-seat personal aircraft that you can park in your garage, drive on the road and fill up at a gas station. "This is a very exciting time for Terrafugia," said Carl Dietrich, the company's CEO and CTO. "We are on our way up -- literally and figuratively!"
January 10, 2014 | By W.J. Hennigan
MOJAVE, Calif. -- Virgin Galactic, British billionaire Richard Branson's commercial space venture, reached its highest altitude yet Friday in a supersonic rocket plane that's set to carry paying customers into sub-orbit later this year. The company's SpaceShipTwo blasted through the sound barrier and sped to Mach 1.4, climbing to 71,000 feet in its first powered test flight of the year. The flight, the program's third rocket-powered test flight, is the latest milestone in Virgin Galactic's goal to take dozens of people into space multiple times each day. The test flight took place shortly after sunrise Friday beginning on the desert runway at Mojave Air and Space Port, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
February 7, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
Though a month of investigating the grounded Boeing Co. Dreamliner 787 passenger jet and its fire-prone batteries has turned up clues, federal officials reported that the cause of the problem remains a mystery. Meanwhile, airlines have made other arrangements for passengers for the foreseeable future as its 787s are grounded and the battery issue is investigated. Speaking to reporters Thursday from Washington, National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said investigators found a short-circuit in a lithium-ion battery on one aircraft and even traced it to a specific cell, but they didn't yet determine the root cause.
September 11, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
MOJAVE -- The test flight appeared to be going well when the 12-foot rocket soared into blue sky. But upon its descent, something went wrong. On Tuesday, Masten Space System's Xaero test rocket exploded during a test flight here at Mojave Air and Space Port. There were no injuries, but the vehicle was lost. The 2-year-old vertical takeoff and landing vehicle launched around 10:30 a.m. on its most ambitious mission to date. It hit 3,280 feet and slowly came down for a landing under rocket power when it began wildly oscillating.
April 20, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
The results are in from last summer's attempt to test new technology that would provide the Pentagon with a lightning-fast vehicle, capable of delivering a military strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour. In August the Pentagon's research arm, known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, carried out a test flight of an experimental aircraft capable of traveling at 20 times the speed of sound. The arrowhead-shaped unmanned aircraft, dubbed Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara, into the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket made by Orbital Sciences Corp.
October 17, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
High above the Mojave Desert, the military's next-generation fighter jet dropped a 2,000-pound bomb for the first time in its latest test flight. It's a key milestone for the stealthy, supersonic F-35, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., which has been undergoing tests since its first flight in late 2006. The F-35, piloted by Air Force Maj. Eric "Doc" Schultz, jettisoned the smart bomb Wednesday from the belly of the aircraft over the Naval Air Weapons Station test range at China Lake.
April 17, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
Orbital Sciences Corp.'s launch of its new Antares rocket has been put on hold due to a technical issue that popped up when countdown was about 12 minutes away. The 13-story rocket was expected to blast off from NASA's little-known Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia at 2 p.m. Pacific time in its maiden flight to space in a test mission for NASA. But Orbital said it had to abort the launch when an umbilical line to the second stage prematurely fell off while the rocket was on the launch pad. "The teams are still gathering data," the company tweeted . "Most probable next attempt will be Friday, April 19 at 1700 EDT. We will provide confirmation soon.
March 25, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
Boeing Co. said it plans a nearly two-hour test flight of a 787 Dreamliner to test its proposed fix for the lithium-ion battery systems that led to the commercial jet's grounding in January. The flight on Monday is the latest attempt by the aerospace giant to win approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and get the 787 fleet airborne again. During the test, the 787 - a production airplane built for LOT Polish Airlines - was scheduled to take off at 11 a.m. Pacific time and land at Paine Field in Everett, Wash.
December 2, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
Delivery drones are on their way. on Sunday introduced Prime Air , a futuristic delivery system that the company says will get packages into customers' hands in half an hour or less, delivered via unmanned aerial vehicles. The online retail behemoth posted a video on its website that shows images of a recent Prime Air test flight. In the 80-second clip, which you can watch below, a shopper buys an item on Amazon. The item is then placed into a plastic yellow Amazon container and picked up at the end of a conveyor belt by an Amazon drone, which takes off and soars over a grassy field before depositing the package with a thud outside the shopper's doorstep.
September 5, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
British billionaire Richard Branson's commercial space venture Virgin Galactic took one step closer to carrying tourists into space with its latest supersonic test flight. On Thursday, the company's rocket plane went Mach 1.43 in the skies above the Mojave Desert. It is the second time the aircraft, named SpaceShipTwo, has broken the sound barrier. The test flight is a key milestone in Virgin Galactic's effort to be the world's first commercial space liner, which would make several trips a day carrying scores of paying customers into space for a brief journey.
August 21, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
A F-35 fighter jet performed a key test flight for the U.S. Marine Corps last week when it hovered above a naval ship then came down to stick its first nighttime vertical landing. It's a big milestone toward getting the radar-evading aircraft ready for combat by the end of 2015. The first night vertical landing was accomplished Aug. 14 by test pilot Lt. Col. C.R. "Jimi" Clift aboard the USS Wasp at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. It is part of an 18-day at-sea testing phase of the aircraft.
July 24, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Video streaming by Ustream Early Wednesday morning, NASA engineers will drop a model spacecraft big enough to hold four astronauts from 35,000 feet up in the air - and you can watch what happens next, live, right here. NASA will host a Live Google Hangout from the test site at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. PDT on July 24. And the good news is that something is guaranteed to go wrong. The engineers will simulate a failure of one of the model spacecraft's three main parachutes, according to a release from the space agency.
June 12, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE - Far beyond the electronic security gates and razor-wire topped fences, Col. Rod Cregier surveys a team of technicians busily readying a lithe F-35 fighter jet for its next test flight. As the F-35 program director at the base, Cregier and his team play a crucial role in a nationwide military effort to get the high-tech jet ready for battle. After a decade of administrative problems, cost overruns and technical glitches, the F-35 is still not ready for action.
June 10, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
An F-35 fighter jet launched a missile in mid-flight from its internal weapons bay for the first time in a test flight for the Air Force. The missile firing took place last week about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles at the Navy's Point Mugu Sea Test Range after the plane took off from Edwards Air Force Base.  It is a milestone that paves the way for targeted launches later this year. On Monday, aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. released a video in which the F-35 ejects an AIM-120 missile that briefly falls before firing its rocket motor and bursting into flight.
May 3, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
A lightning-quick experimental aircraft made history when it sped more than 3,000 mph above the Pacific Ocean in a test flight, reigniting decades-long efforts to develop a vehicle that could travel faster than a speeding bullet. The unmanned X-51A WaveRider, which resembles a shark-nosed missile, was launched midair Wednesday off the coast near Point Mugu. It sped westward for 240 seconds, reaching Mach 5.1, or more than five times the speed of sound, before plunging into the ocean as planned.
August 15, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
A closely watched test flight of an experimental aircraft designed to travel up to 3,600 mph ended in disappointment when a part failed, causing it to plummet into the Pacific Ocean, the Air Force revealed. The unmanned X-51A WaveRider was launched over the Pacific Tuesday from above the Point Mugu Naval Air Test Range in a key test to fine-tune its hypersonic scramjet engine. The aircraft was designed to hit mach 6, or six times the speed of sound, and fly for five minutes. But that didn't happen.
May 24, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp., plagued by setbacks with its pricey high-flying spy drones, has come up with a new version for the Navy that could keep the company's unmanned aircraft assembly line in Palmdale humming. An initial test flight - a relatively easy 80 minutes around the company's Palmdale plant - went off without a hitch. And that could have a major effect on the program's future in the Southland. The drone, called MQ-4C Triton, is a heavily modified version of Northrop's beleaguered RQ-4 Global Hawk, which has been dismissed as too expensive by the Pentagon and Germany's defense ministry.
May 24, 2013 | By Jay Jones
One of the most famous aircraft in American military history -- the Lockheed F-104A Starfighter -- has landed at the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor . The jet arrived on Oahu's Ford Island in early May, becoming the 43rdaircraft to join the museum's collection of historic planes. Starfighters were used by the Air Force from 1958 through 1975. At a length of more than 55 feet, but with a wingspan of just under 22 feet, the jet was dubbed “the missile with a man in it.” It was in an F-104 that Gen. Chuck Yeager made the record-breaking, high-altitude ascent depicted in the movie “The Right Stuff.” The modified, rocket-assisted jet soared to more than 100,000 feet during a test flight in December 1963.
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