The sixth free flight of an X-38 is scheduled for tomorrow at NASA’s
Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, Calif. The X-38
prototypes are proving technologies needed to build a space-worthy
Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) that could be docked to the International
Space Station like a “lifeboat” for the safe emergency return of a
seven-person crew.

Tuesday’s X-38 mission is set to begin with a takeoff at 8 a.m.,
using NASA’s B-52 carrier aircraft to take the unpowered X-38 aloft
to 37,500 feet for a release between 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. As the
unpiloted X-38 descends to land at Edwards, engineers will test and
validate aspects of the parafoil flight control software developed by
the European Space Agency, a partner in the X-38 program.

The X-38 sequences a parachute and a huge fabric wing parafoil to
slowly bring the craft to earth in the space of a football field. The
ongoing X-38 free-flight atmospheric tests represent an incremental
approach to designing and flying the CRV. Tomorrow’s flight will
also examine the parachute deployment and software used to activate
control surfaces on the X-38.

– NASA –


Media interested in covering the X-38 flight must contact Dryden
Public Affairs at (661) 276-3449. Still photos and video footage
will be available from the Dryden Public Affairs Office to support
this release four hours after the return of the B-52. Media who plan
to go to the runway to observe the B-52 takeoff are to be here by
6:30 a.m. Pacific. Construction on Rosamond Blvd. leading into
Edwards Air Force Base from Highway 14 may cause delays, especially
during morning shift change.

NASA TV will air the flight starting between 8:30-9:00 a.m. Pacific
time with X-38 B-roll and will then begin live coverage of the flight
from release to the X-38 landing. NASA Television may be accessed via
satellite GE-2, transponder 9C, at 85 degrees west longitude, with
vertical polarization. Frequency is on 3880.0 megahertz, with audio
on 6.8 megahertz.

Television or radio media desiring to make live broadcasts from
Dryden must bring a copy of their FCC license with the broadcast
vehicle, and conduct a frequency check with NASA frequency monitors
before transmitting. Frequency checks must be scheduled before 3:00
p.m. today by calling public affairs (661) 276-3449. Depending on
frequencies available, live broadcasts may have to wait until the
B-52 has landed after the release.