Development of the Balloon-based Operation Vehicle (BOV) is currently in progress for the first flight scheduled in 2006. In a series of BOV experiments, a vehicle in a wing-body configuration is lifted by a high-altitude balloon and dropped, after which the microgravity experiments will be performed onboard the vehicle under favor of the quasi-free-fall environments. Although the BOV is originally designed for the microgravity experiments, various types of experiments can also be performed in a hypersonic flight at lower altitudes. One candidate currently under review is a flight experiment of a precooled turbojet engine in reduced dimension. In this article, an overview of the BOV experiment is introduced, and the current development status of the BOV and a flight model of the precooled turbojet engine is presented. The aerodynamic load and the aerodynamic characteristics of the BOV are obtained by computational fluid-dynamic analyses and wind-tunnel experiments.
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