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X-38 completes eighth test flight
Posted: Fri, Dec 14, 2001, 10:07 AM ET (1507 GMT)
X-38 in free flight (NASA/DFRC) NASA’s X-38 experimental vehicle completed its eighth, and most ambitious, test flight on Thursday. The vehicle was released from a B-52 at an altitude of 13,600 meters and glided for almost a minute, reaching speeds near the sound barrier. It then deployed its parafoil and glided to a landing on the lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, 12 minutes later. The flight tested a number of hardware and software improvements to the vehicle, including a system that allowed it to be remotely piloted from the ground and a semicircular aft section that could allow it to be mated to expendable launch vehicles. The X-38 is a prototype of a proposed crew return vehicle (CRV) for the International Space Station; however, budget problems with NASA’s portion of the station have indefinitely delayed plans to construct a CRV.
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