X-38

The X-38 was a program under leadership of NASA Johnson Space Center to build a series of incremental flight demonstrators for the proposed Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) for the International Space Station.

X-38

The program also, in an unusual move for a X-plane, involved the European Space Agency and the German Space Agency DLR.

X-38






The X-38 V-131 and V-132 shared the aerodynamic shape of the X-24A. It was patterned after a lifting-body shape first employed in the Air Force-NASA X-24 lifting-body project in the early to mid-1970s. This shape had to be enlarged for the Crew Return Vehicle needs (crew of seven astronauts) and redesigned, especially in the rear part, which became thicker.

X-38

The X-38 V-131R was designed at 80 percent of the size of a CRV, and featured the final redesigned shape.

The X-38 V-201 orbital prototype was 80 percent complete, but never flown.


In tests the V-131, V-132 and V-131R were dropped by a B-52 from altitudes of up to 45,000 ft (13,700 m), gliding at near transonic speeds before deploying a drogue parachute to slow them to 60 mph (95 km/h).

The later prototypes had their descent continue under a 7,500 ft² (700 m²) parafoil wing, the largest ever made.


Flight control was mostly autonomous, backed up by a ground-based pilot.


X-38

X-38

Specifications (NASA X-38)

General characteristics
Crew:
0
Length: 28 ft 6 in (8.7 m)
Wingspan: 14 ft 6 in (4.4 m)
Empty weight: 16,000 lb (7260 kg)

Performance:
Maximum speed:
500 mph (800 km/h)





Links:
http://www.codeonemagazine.com
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov
http://www.edwards.af.mil
http://www.globalaircraft.org
http://www.drivearchive.co.uk
http://users.dbscorp.net
http://www.fas.org

Video:





(This text was adapted from http://www.wikipedia.org/ )(GFDL)
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