An “H” model B-52 Stratofortress arrived today at the NASA Dryden
Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. The B-52H will be used as an
air-launch aircraft supporting NASA’s flight research and advanced
technology demonstration efforts.

Dryden received the B-52H from the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) 23rd Bomb
Squadron, 5th Bombardment Wing (Air Combat Command), located at Minot
AFB, N.D. A USAF crew flew the aircraft to Dryden.

“We have been seeking a replacement aircraft for our existing
B-52B-model for some time – it is great to see the H-model finally
arrive,” says Dryden Center Director Kevin Petersen. “It should
provide us an excellent launch platform for the future,” Petersen

The new air-launch aircraft will boost both NASA and USAF efforts in
researching and demonstrating technologies for future access to space
vehicles. The Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) and Dryden have a
mutual Alliance that serves as a bilateral, cooperative relationship
to improve service and lower cost to the internal and external
customers of both.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the USAF are partially
funding, along with NASA, a flight research instrumentation package
to be installed on the aircraft, as well as other modifications to
the aircraft.

The aircraft, USAF tail number 61-0025, will be loaned initially,
then later transferred from the USAF to NASA.

The B-52H is scheduled to leave Dryden Aug. 2 for de-militarization
and Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) at Tinker Air Force Base
(AFB), Oklahoma. The depot-level maintenance is scheduled to last
about six months and includes a thorough maintenance and inspection

A new Dryden-designed pylon for the B-52H for carrying aerospace
vehicles aloft will be built during the next year by the fabrication
shop at the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, Calif.

The new pylon will be a “one-pylon-fits-all” design enabling the
B-52H to literally “carry-out” its mission. In the past, most new
aerospace vehicles taken up by Dryden’s B-52B required their own new

According to Dryden B-52H project manager Bob Jones, construction of
the new pylon is designed to accept different adaptors for the
variety of aerospace vehicle shapes and sizes each new Dryden project
represents. Initially, the new pylon will be rated to carry a load
weighing up to 25,000 pounds. Later modifications are planned to
allow a load-carrying capability of over 70,000 pounds.

The newly arrived B-52H is slated to replace Dryden’s famous B-52B
“008,” in the 2003-2004 timeframe. It will take about one year for
the B-52H to be ready for flight research duties. This time includes
PDM, construction of the new pylon, installation of the flight
research instrumentation equipment, and aircraft envelope clearance

Versatile B-52 Stratofortresses served as the backbone of Strategic
Air Command (SAC) during the Cold War. As one leg of the United
States’ nuclear “triad” defense strategy, B-52s, able to be recalled
in-flight, offered the most flexible weapons delivery platform.

Delivery of the first B-52H model aircraft to SAC occurred in May
1961 and the last was delivered in October of 1962. A total of 102 H
models were built; 94 of the workhorse aircraft remain on active duty
with the USAF today. Stratofortresses participated in the Vietnam
War, Desert Storm, and most recently in the Kosovo conflict.

– NASA –


Media are invited to attend a media event at Dryden for the H-model
B-52 on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2001, at 9:30 a.m. Maj. Gen. Wilbert D.
Pearson, AFFTC Commander, and Gary Krier, Dryden Acting Deputy
Director, will speak. Personnel will be available for interviews
immediately following.

Media interested in attending should call Dryden Public Affairs at
(661) 276-3449 no later than 2 p.m. on July 31 for access. Media
should plan to arrive for the event by 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 1.

Photos are available on the Internet under NASA Dryden Research
Aircraft Photo Archive, Dryden News and Feature Photos, URL:

For photo prints or video dubs, please call (661) 276-2662.

NASA Dryden news releases are also available on the Internet at: