the program's highest and longest drop test to date. Carried
to a height of nearly 12000 meters by a B-52, the prototype
flew over 11mins after deploying a new improved parafoil. This
model also included automatic flight control software for the
For more info,
see the NASA PR: [--Link Dead--]X-38 INTERCEPTS
ROAD HOME FROM ORBIT IN SUCCESSFUL FLIGHT TEST
- Space - Smooth sailing, rough landing for 'space lifeboat'
- March 30, 2000 * SpaceViews
Article: X-38 Completes Longest Drop Test Yet - Mar.30.00 ]
, a combination reusable hypersonic sub-orbital vehicle
and orbiting tether system that's under study by a collaboration
of Robert Forward's Tether
Unlimited , Boeing and Univ. of Maryland. The tether swings
down and grabs payloads from the vehicle and lifts them to orbit.
The [--Error--]study so far has proven the general feasibility
of the concept and is now trying to optimize the design.
VentureStar site posts a [--Error [--Time
Out--]--]press release on the recent long duration test.
It says that the firing also included the first demonstration
of full power thrust vector control.
engine test succeeds
on March 22 in a reaching the full 220sec duration that would
be required for its missions. Acccording to the item on the
History site, an even longer test of 250secs will be carried
out on April 3 as well.
effect first stage booster
for an RLV has been proposed by a Russian group.
New Scientist reports that a spaceplane would mount "on
the back of a 1500-tonne, rocket-propelled seaplane, known in
Russia as an 'ekranoplan'
". To top off this rather eccentric proposal, the spaceplane
would land on the back, avoiding the need for landing gear.
[Ed. The Soviet Union developed several ground effect prototypes,
including a large multi-engine vehicle, but never succeeded
in finding a suitable application for them. I guess the Russian
inheritors of this technology are hoping space launching could
be a winner for it.]
The OrlandoTimes reports on the X-33 problems in [--Link
Dead--]Rocket ship of future still grounded by problems-Mar.19.00
Corporation reports on the test of the huge parafoil for the
X-38 program - Space
Station Parafoil Unfurls Beautifully in Test ...
dolar question: should NASA continue with the X-38 development
of a one way Crew Rescue Vehicle or switch to a two-way Crew
Transfer Vehicle - NASA
Looking at Alternatives to ISS Crew Return Vehicle -Mar.20.00
engine test interrupted
75secs into a planned full-duration 220secs run. No significant
damage found. A fuel pump was detected to be out of normal range
and so the control computers stopped the test. Corrections should
be easily made to allow for tests to resume next week. See NASA
Press Release .
BA-2- a partially reusable booster.
Beal recently tested the largest rocket engine developed [--Link
Dead--]since Apollo 's F-1. ([--Link
Dead--]Beal Aerospace Fires Largest Liquid Rocket Engine in
30 Years - Beal Press Release - March 4, 2000.)
company is funded by banker Andrew
Beal who has put together a top rate team that is pursuing
new approaches to reducing the cost of launching heavy payloads.
The BA-810 engine uses hydrogen
peroxide/kerosene, for example, which avoids the cost and complexity
of low temperature liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.
helium pressure-fed engines also avoids the weight and reliability
problems of high speed pumps. The tanks and structure will make
extensive use of light-weight composites filament-wound materials.
launch of the the 3-stage [--Link Dead--]BA-1
is planned for mid-2002. The BA-1 appears at first glance to
be of a typical expendable design but according to the web site
it will use "reusable technologies"
for "primary stage recoveries at sea." Beal has also
indicated that follow-on vehicles will be fully reusable.
that many proposed designs of low cost RLVs have involved hydrogen
peroxide. Validation of this approach could have
a big positive spin-off effect on other projects.
Florida Today Space Online reports about the status of the X-33
hydrogen tank failures. Fuel
tanks latest problem for X-33-Mar.9.00 ....Also, see Boeing
as answer to rapid deployment problems ...
- Feb.28 - reported that Lockheed Martin has promised that it
will absorb the extra cost for the aluminum hydrogen tank replacements
for the failed composite tanks if NASA will send them the remaining
$113 million in the program funding....
of the two payloads returned with the IRDT
inflatable re-entry system was successfully protected from the
intense heat. However, there was some impact damage due to the
failure of a second-stage full deployment that was to act as
a drag chute. The other entry payload, the Fregat upper stage,
has not yet been found due to the severe weather at the time
of the landing that probably left it buried in snow. The search
is apparently postponed till Spring after the snow melts.
Note that successful development of such a lightweight inflatable
reentry system could be a big plus for RLV development as well.
Several of the proposed systems, such as Kelly's
Eclipse and Pioneer's
RocketPlane , involve only reusable first stages. They plan
to use expendable upper-stages to deliver payloads to orbit.
With an IRDT type system, the whole system would become reusable.
Boeing may develop a 3 stage air-launched rocket to launch reusable
spaceplanes. The all solid expendable booster system would be
mounted atop a 747 and could launch up to 3000kg to LEO. It
is being considered as the launcher for the X-37
and Air Force SMV (Space
Maneuvering Vehicle) reuseable spaceplanes. See SpaceViews
Article: Boeing Considers Air-Launched Rocket-Mar.3.00 ...
A drop test
of the X-38
was scheduled for Feb.26 but was postponed due to computer problems
- [--Error--]Space Station Return Vehicle
Test Postponed To March 29 - AviationNow - Mar.3.00 ...
development of its
combines rocket and scramjet propulsion into a single engine
Conducts Successful Strutjet Rocket Tests at New Facility in
Sacramento- Press Release Mar 6.00