NASA Daily News SummaryFor Release: June 25, 1999Media Advisory m99-129Summary:-- News Release: X-34 Rocket Plane Takes to the Sky as Part of SafetyCheck-- News Release: Investigation Finds Design Errors Caused WIRESpacecraft Failure-- Video File for June 25: From Mars With Love******X-34 ROCKET PLANE TAKES TO THE SKY AS PART OF SAFETY CHECKLocked to the belly of its newly modified L-1011 carrieraircraft, a test version of NASA's X-34 rocket plane isscheduled to make its first flight next week. The prototypeof the robotic spacecraft will test new technologies andmethods of operations needed to develop low-cost reusablespace vehicles. The first flight will begin at approximately 11 a.m. EDTon Tuesday, June 29, from NASA's Dryden Flight ResearchCenter, Edwards, CA. This captive-carry flight, in which the aircraftand test vehicle remain combined, will check for potentially hazardousconditions that may have resulted from modifications made tothe L-1011 to enable it to carry the X-34.Contact at NASA Headquarters: Jim Cast, 202/358-1779;Contact at NASA Dryden: Leslie A. Mathews, 661/258-3893;Contact at NASA Marshall: Dominic Amatore, 256/544-0031;Contact at Orbital Sciences Corp.: Barron Beneski, 703/406-5000.*****INVESTIGATION FINDS DESIGN ERRORS CAUSED WIRE SPACECRAFTFAILURENASA's Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) failed because of anincorrectly designed electronics box that prematurely fired explosivedevices, causing early ejection of the instrument's telescope cover, aNASA board has found. With the premature loss of the telescope's cover,the frozen hydrogen used to cool the telescope's sensitive infrareddetectors was exposed to the Sun. As the telescope warmed, the hydrogenconverted into a gas and vented entirely into space within 48 hours of launch. Without the frozen hydrogen, the instrument could not conductits scientific mission.