X-43A MISHAP INVESTIGATION UPDATE
The board investigating the June 2 X-43A mission loss continues
to meet at NASAs Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards,
Calif. Root cause of the mishap has not yet been found.
Robert W. Hughes, chairman of the investigation board, said the
team at Dryden expects to join other team members already at the
Orbital Sciences Corp. facility in Chandler, Ariz., by June 24.
That is where the Pegasus booster rocket used with the X-43A was
The investigation board has released the NASA B-52B mother ship
as well as NASA Drydens control rooms for other duties,
Hughes said. These assets had been isolated since the mishap to
permit the board to study them in detail.
The X-43A mission, first in a series of three, was lost moments
after the X-43A and its Pegasus booster rocket were released from
the wing of the B-52 carrier aircraft. After Pegasus rocket
ignition, the combined booster and X-43A deviated from its flight
path. It was then deliberately terminated with an explosive charge,
causing the X-43A and Pegasus to fall into a cleared Navy sea range
off the coast of California.
The X-43A is designed to be the first scramjet-powered vehicle,
capable of attaining speeds as high as Mach 10.
NASAs Langley Research Center at Hampton, Va., leads the
X-43A program, with flight operations conducted by NASA Dryden.
Microcraft, Inc., of Tullahoma, Tenn., built the 12-foot-long X-43A
vehicle. The mishap investigation team includes representatives
from NASA centers including Dryden, Langley, Marshall (Alabama),
Goddard (Maryland), Kennedy (Florida), plus all of the contractor
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