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October 26, 2005

Dryden Flight Research Center
P.O. Box 273
Edwards, California 93523
Phone 661/276-3449
FAX 661/276-3566

Leslie Williams
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
Phone: 661/276-3893
  J.D. Harrington
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: 202/358-5241

X-43A Hypersonic Program Wins NASA's Top Administrator's Award

NASA's Turning Goals into Reality program has recognized the Hyper-X Program Team with its highest aeronautical honor, the Administrators Award, for exceptional progress toward making scramjet-powered hypersonic flight a reality.

The award honored Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., and the industry partners on the Hyper-X / X-43A hypersonic program. The X-43A demonstrated supersonic-combustion ramjet (scramjet) propulsion through two record-setting flights in 2004. Both flights demonstrated sustained thrust from the X-43A's air-breathing scramjet engine, the first at nearly 5,000 mph, the second at nearly 7,000 mph, or almost 10 times the speed of sound.

The Turning Goals into Reality (TGIR) award acknowledges outstanding contributions and exceptional progress toward achieving any of the Program Goals and Objectives of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, including aviation safety, protecting the environment, increasing air space capacity and mobility, and improving national security. Additionally, an award was given for Inspiring Students and Engaging the Public at the seventh annual TGIR awards ceremony, hosted by NASA's Glenn Research Center at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday evening.

"Last night we honored eight achievements from people who worked together in unique partnerships to identify common needs and achieve common goals." said Dr. Jaiwon Shin, Acting Associate Administrator for Aeronautics. "From testing a new form of propulsion here on Earth that could improve our access to space, to developing a way to dramatically reduce the number of false alarms when detecting fires in aircraft cargo holds-these achievements represent our mission to benefit the American public."

The Hyper-X program was a research effort designed to demonstrate alternate propulsion technologies for access to space and high-speed flight within the atmosphere. It provided unique "first time" data on hypersonic air-breathing engine technologies that could have large potential pay-offs.

Ultimate applications include future hypersonic missiles, hypersonic airplanes, the first stage of two-stage-to-orbit and single-stage-to-orbit reusable space launch vehicles. Because they do not have to carry their own oxidizer, as rockets must, vehicles powered by air-breathing scramjets can be smaller and lighter- or be the same size and carry more payloads.

NASA Langley was the lead center and was responsible for hypersonic technology development and overall program management. NASA Dryden was responsible for the flight tests, including hardware integration and data collection.

ATK GASL (formerly MicroCraft, Inc.) in Tullahoma, Tenn., built both the X-43A aircraft and its engine, and Boeing's Phantom Works in Huntington Beach, Calif., designed the thermal protection and propulsion control systems. Orbital Sciences Corp. Chandler, Ariz., built the modified Pegasus rocket booster that was air-launched from NASA's venerable NB-52B "mothership."

A complete list of the Turning Goals into Reality winning teams, along with synopses of their accomplishments, is available at: http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/tgir/2005/award_listing.htm.

For more information about NASA's Aeronautics program, see: http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov.


PHOTO EDITORS: High-resolution photos of the X-43A to support this release are available on the NASA Dryden web site photo gallery at: http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/X-43A/index.html.


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