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November 3, 2004

Mach 10 Free Flight of Hypersonic X-43A Delayed To Nov. 15

NASA - Mach 10 Free Flight of Hypersonic X-43A Delayed To Nov. 15

Release: 04-53

Due to weather concerns and scheduling conflicts for use of the U.S. Navy's test range off the Southern California coast, the third and final flight of the X-43A hypersonic research aircraft from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center has been rescheduled for no earlier than Monday, Nov. 15. If test range availability or weather conditions preclude conducting the mission on that date, Tuesday, Nov. 16 is being retained as a backup date for the flight. The mission is intended to flight-validate the operation of the X-43A's supersonic-combustion ramjet - or "scramjet" - engine at an airspeed of almost Mach 10, 10 times the speed of sound, or about 6,800 mph. Technicians are preparing the research vehicle and its rocket booster for mating to the B-52B launch aircraft, and project engineers are completing control room training for the mission, simulating both a nominal mission and a variety of potential contingencies that could arise during the flight.

The final X-43A mission is also expected to be the last research mission for NASA's venerable B-52B "mothership" heavy launch aircraft, which is due to be retired in the near future after almost 50 years of service.

As a result of the flight delay, a pre-flight news media briefing at NASA Dryden for the final X-43A research flight will be rescheduled for the week of Nov. 8 - 12, with the exact date yet to be determined.

For further information about the X-43A and NASA's Hyper-X hypersonic research program on the Internet, log on to: http://www.nasa.gov/missions/research/x43-main.html


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