JAPAN'S SMALL-SCALE AUTOMATIC-LANDING Flight Experiment (AFLEX) has been flight tested at the Woomera rocket range, South Australia, as part of a preparatory programme for the H-II Orbiting Plane-X (HOPE-X) automatic space shuttle, which, it is hoped, will fly in about 2000. The AFLEX, which has a similar configuration to that of the HOPE, has been used for verifying the design and accumulating aerodynamic and navigation, guidance and control-system data in a series of automatic flights after being dropped from 4,900ft (1,500m) from a helicopter.

Source: Flight International