NASA has selected Allied Aerospace Industries of
Tullahoma, Tenn., to provide three flight-ready experimental
demonstrator vehicles that will fly approximately 5,000 miles
per hour or seven times the speed of sound. The multi-year
project, called X-43C, will expand the hypersonic flight
envelope for air-breathing engines.

The cost-plus-fixed-fee completion type contract carries
performance incentives and is valued at nearly $150 million
over 66 months. The base activity covers all work through
completion of the Preliminary Design Review, and the optional
effort covers the final design, hardware fabrication and all
associated support activities.

The X-43C is the next logical step, following the Hyper-X (X-
43A), vehicle that aims at demonstrating short duration
scramjet powered flight at Mach 7 and Mach 10. The X-43C will
demonstrate free flight of a scramjet-powered vehicle with
acceleration capability from Mach 5 to Mach 7, as well as
operation of a hydrocarbon fuel-cooled scramjet.

NASA’s Langley Research Center (LaRC), Hampton, Va. is
leading a combined U.S. Air Force/industry team in the design
and development of the X-43C demonstrator vehicle and its
propulsion system. The engine, which will be provided by the
Air Force, will be a dual-mode scramjet capable of running as
a ramjet or scramjet.

Allied Aerospace, Flight Systems Division, will team with
Pratt & Whitney, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Boeing Phantom Works,
Huntington Beach, Calif.; and RJK Technologies, Blacksburg,

Work will be performed primarily in Tullahoma and West Palm
Beach. Some contract work will also take place at Huntington
Beach, Blacksburg, St. Louis, LaRC and NASA’s Dryden Flight
Research Center (DFRC), Edwards, Calif.

Future air-breathing space access vehicles offer advantages
over conventional rocket-powered vehicles that must carry all
of the oxidizer needed to burn their fuel. Air-breathing
engine-powered vehicles obtain oxygen from the atmosphere in
flight. By minimizing the need to carry oxidizer, smaller and
more efficient vehicles can be designed for space access

‘When fully developed, these advanced propulsion systems will
offer increased safety, payload capacity and economy of
operation for future, reusable space access vehicles,” said
Paul Moses, manager of the X-43C project. “The X-43C project
will validate advanced technologies, design tools and test
techniques that will enable design of such vehicles in the
future,” he said.

For the three demonstration flights, a Pegasus-derived rocket
booster will be air-launched by a carrier aircraft to boost
the X-43C demonstrator vehicles to Mach 5 at approximately
80,000 feet. The X-43C will separate from the booster and
continue to accelerate to Mach 7 under its own power and
autonomous control.

Flights will originate from DFRC. Flight paths of the
vehicles will be over water within the Pacific Test Range.

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