Press Release

NASA Captive Carry Test Prepares for Next X-43A / Hyper-X Flight

By SpaceRef Editor
September 4, 2004
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NASA Captive Carry Test Prepares for Next X-43A / Hyper-X Flight

Only days after Guinness World Records certified the prior flight of
NASA’s X-43A hypersonic technology demonstrator aircraft as a world
speed record, a full-scale dress rehearsal for the last and even
faster flight of the small unpiloted research aircraft is tentatively
scheduled to occur on Tuesday, Sept. 7 from NASA’s Dryden Flight
Research Center.

The dress rehearsal, officially called a "captive carry" mission,
will involve a full-up replication of all operational functions that
will occur on the actual research flight later this fall. In this
captive carry mission, however, the X-43A and its modified
first-stage Pegasus launch rocket will not be launched from NASA’s
B-52B mother ship.

The X-43A is powered by a revolutionary supersonic-combustion ramjet
or "scramjet" engine integrated into the airframe. During its flight
last March, the second X-43A maintained a speed of at least Mach
6.83, or almost seven times the speed of sound. For the final flight,
the third vehicle is tentatively targeted to reach and maintain a
speed of about Mach 10, or close to 7,200 mph.

Pending thorough evaluation of all captive-carry flight data, the
test could lead to launch of the X-43A on its final flight in the
Hyper-X hypersonic research program in late October.

Status updates will be available on-line at at:
Still photos will be posted to the NASA Dryden web site photo gallery
Video footage will be available from the Dryden Public Affairs Office
by calling (661) 276-3449.

The X-43A/Hyper-X hypersonic research program is a joint effort of
NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., and Dryden Flight
Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

SpaceRef staff editor.