Posted: Jan 14, 2010 8:16 AM by Associated Press
Air Force Academy cadets are getting ready to test-fire a rocket as part of the school's FalconLaunch space education program.
The FalconLaunch-8 rocket will be ignited while it's held stationary on Friday to measure the thrust and to test a new ignition system. If the test is successful, the FalconLaunch-8 will blast off from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in April.
The plan is for that rocket to be equipped with winglets designed for performance testing at high speeds. If they work, the winglets could be used on reusable space vehicles.
The previous rocket in the FalconLaunch series reached at altitude of nearly 355,000 feet, a record for university-built rockets.