X-38 release from B-52
Harking back to the lifting-body designs of the 1960s, the X-38 Advanced Technology Demonstrator was used to show the feasibility of what was intended to be a crew-return vehicle that would be based at the International Space Station.
To be used in the event of an emergency evacuation of the space station, the projected crew-return vehicle would re-enter the atmosphere like the space shuttle, and its life support system would have a duration of about seven hours.
Two prototypes were built by Scaled Composites, and they made about 15 captive and free flights between 1997 and 2001. At about 24 feet long and 12 feet wide, the pilotless X-38 aircraft were 80 percent scale models. The X-38 program was eventually canceled.
June 21, 2010 9:58 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA/Carla Thomas
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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