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June 4, 1997

Release: 97-22

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NASA's first X-38 Advanced Technology Demonstrator for the proposed Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) arrived today at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

Preparations for upcoming research flights will keep NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) and Dryden X-38 team members busy, as captive-carry flights attached under the wing of Dryden's B-52 are scheduled to begin in July. Unpiloted free-flights from the B-52 are scheduled to begin in the fall.

"The X-38 has resulted from a unique cooperation between a NASA space center, such as Johnson Space Center, and a NASA aeronautics center, such as Dryden Flight Research Center. This teamwork has made the X-38 happen in a 'better, faster, cheaper' fashion," says Bob Baron, Dryden's X-38 Project Manager.

The X-38 is an innovative new spacecraft designed at JSC to validate technologies required for a future International Space Station (ISS) emergency crew return "lifeboat" which would be delivered to the ISS by the Space Shuttle. This concept could also lead to a possible joint U.S. and European human spacecraft that could be launched on a French Ariane 5 booster rocket. The completed X-38 is the first of three such experimental vehicles being readied for unpiloted research flights at Dryden. Scaled Composites of Mojave, Calif., constructed the largely fiberglass vehicles.

A space flight test vehicle which will be built largely at JSC is planned for launch aboard the Space Shuttle for an unpiloted space flight in 2000. Once operational early in the next century, the ISS Crew Return Vehicle may become the first new human spacecraft to travel to and from Earth orbit in more than 20 years.


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