A cryogenic gas expander system that incorporates a high-performance, high-speed permanent magnet, direct-drive generator and low loss magnetic bearings is described. Flow loop testing to 30,000 rpm was completed at the system manufacturer s facility in January 2005, and field installation is scheduled for October 2005. As part of the system testing, the rotor was dropped onto the backup bearings multiple times at an intermediate speed and at 30,000 rpm. Orbit and time-history data from a full speed drop and spin down are presented and discussed in detail. A transient, nonlinear rotordynamic analysis simulation model was developed for the machine to provide insight into the dynamic behavior. The model includes the dead band clearance, the flexible backup bearing support, and hard stop. Model predictions are discussed relative to the test data.