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Fwd = X-43A dress rehearsal flight successful

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://defence-data.com/current/page10751.htm Original Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 14:48:57 -0700
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2001
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      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      URL: http://defence-data.com/current/page10751.htm
      Original Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 14:48:57 -0700

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      X-43A dress rehearsal flight successful

      1 May 2001

      The NASA X-43A hypersonic research vehicle and its Pegasus booster
      rocket, mounted beneath the wing of their B-52 mother ship, has
      had a successful first captive-carry flight. A dress rehearsal for
      the subsequent free flight, the captive-carry flight kept the
      X-43A-and-Pegasus combination attached to the B-52's wing pylon
      throughout the almost two-hour mission from NASA's Dryden Flight
      Research Centre, Edwards in California, over the Pacific Missile
      Test Range, and back to Dryden.

      [x43a2.jpg]
      X-43A-and-Pegasus combination attached to a B-52 wing pylon

      The unpiloted X-43A marks the return to dedicated hypersonic
      research flights (at least five times the speed of sound) that
      NASA last pursued with the X-15 programme that ended in 1969.
      Unique to the X-43A is its blending of an integrated airframe with
      a scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engine, intended to make
      the X-43A the first air-breathing hypersonic vehicle in free
      flight. This technology promises significant savings in weight and
      volume, which could translate into heavier payloads or longer
      flight duration for future scramjet operational craft.
      If the evaluation of all flight data warrants it, the first flight
      of the X-43A "stack" could come as early as mid-May. The first
      free flight will be air-launched by NASA's B-52 at about 24,000
      feet altitude. The booster will accelerate the X-43A to Mach 7 to
      approximately 95,000 feet altitude. At booster burnout, the X-43
      will separate from the booster and fly under its own power on a
      preprogrammed flight path. The hydrogen-fueled aircraft has a
      wingspan of approximately 5 feet, measures 12 feet long and weighs
      about 2,800 pounds.
      Three X-43A flights are planned; the first two will fly at Mach 7
      and the third at Mach 10. Performance data will be relayed
      electronically to Dryden and Langley. Each experimental aircraft
      will fly once in the Naval Air Warfare Centre Weapons Division Sea
      Range off the southern coast of California and impact into the
      Pacific Ocean.
      Programme officials anticipate that this series of experimental
      flights will expand knowledge of hypersonic aerodynamics and
      develop new technologies for safer and more cost effective space
      access. Today's rocket-powered launch vehicles, including the
      Space Shuttle, must carry their own oxygen adding considerable
      weight, complexity and cost to each flight.
      A scramjet-based propulsion system could decrease propellant
      system weight and increase payload -- or maintain the same payload
      using a smaller, cheaper vehicle. Scramjet technology could also
      allow "aircraft-like" operations of launch vehicles with
      horizontal take-off, landing and servicing that could greatly
      decrease operations cost and time between flights.
      REF XQQAS XQQSE XQQTY

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