Press Release

Second Nasa X-34 rocket plane reaches assembly milestone

By SpaceRef Editor
December 29, 1999
Filed under

Contact: Dave Drachlis

[email protected]

256-544-0034

NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center News Center

Second Nasa X-34 rocket plane reaches assembly milestone

Assembly of the second of NASA’s three X-34 rocket research planes reached a major
milestone last week with the attachment of its composite wing to its fuselage at Orbital
Sciences Corp. facilities in Dulles, Va.

Orbital is building and will operate the three experimental robot planes under contract to
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The X-34 is part of a family of
experimental vehicles designed to demonstrate technologies that will increase the safety and
reliability of future launch vehicles and reduce launch costs from $10,000 per pound to
$1,000.

A-2, as the second vehicle is designated, will make the X-34’s first powered flights
scheduled to occur from Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.,
next year. After the A-2 vehicle is assembled and tested at Orbital, the wing — manufactured
by R-Cubed of West Jordon, Utah — will be removed and shipped to Dryden.

The fuselage will be shipped to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. There, integrated with its
Fastrac rocket engine, it will undergo propulsion system testing before being shipped to
Dryden where the wing will be reattached for powered flights. The Fastrac engine was
designed and developed by the Marshall Center. Marshall is NASA’s Lead Center for Space
Transportation System Development.

The first X-34 is now at Dryden being modified for unpowered flight testing at White Sands
Missile Range, N.M. in the spring. The third X-34, still in early stages of production, will
be used to flight test additional technologies late in the series of 27 planned X-34 missions.

The X-34 is approximately 58 feet (17.7 meters) long with a wingspan of about 27 feet (8.4 meters).

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SpaceRef staff editor.