NASA’s X-38 Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) prototype intended for use with the International Space Station is scheduled to conduct another in a series of atmospheric flight tests on Thursday morning, March 30, at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

The scheduled free-flight test with the second X-38 prototype, V-132, will involve a launch from a higher altitude and a longer free flight of the lifting-body shaped X-38 than any previous test. After being air-launched from NASA’s NB-52B carrier aircraft at an altitude of about 39,000 feet, the X-38 is scheduled to perform a variety of maneuvers during 44 seconds of free flight prior to deployment of its parafoil. The X-38 will then descend for about 10 minutes under the brightly colored parafoil to a planned landing on the southern portion of Rogers Dry Lake on Edwards Air Force Base.

Primary objectives of Thursday’s mission are to evaluate the performance of the X-38’s flight control system, air data systems, drogue parachute deployment during simulated spaceflight re-entry, and deployment dynamics of the parafoil, flare and landing. The NB-52B with the X-38 mounted to a pylon under its right wing is scheduled to take off at 8 a.m. and the launch is tentatively scheduled for about 9:40 a.m. This will be the fifth free flight test of the X-38, the third for V-132, and including captive-carry flights, the 13th flight test of the program overall. This mission was rescheduled when a technical problem caused cancellation of the test in February.

News media representatives wishing to cover the flight on-site should FAX a request on their company letterhead to the Dryden Public Affairs Office at (661) 258-3566 or phone (661) 258-3449 no later than 2 p.m. today. A live video feed of the drop is planned for NASA-TV beginning at 9:30 a.m. Pacific time. Video of the flight may also be available after the flight from NASA-TV, which can be accessed through the GE2 satellite, transponder 9C, orbital position 85 degrees west longitude, on a frequency of 3880 Mhz video, with audio on 6.8 Mhz. Technicians should monitor the NASA Video File feeds at 12 noon and 3 p.m. Pacific time.


Public Affairs Office

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Edwards, Calif. 93523

(661) 258-3449