Jim Cast Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1779

)

July 29, 1996

Dom Amatore Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL (Phone: 205/544-0031) RELEASE: 96-150 CLIPPER GRAHAM SET FOR FOURTH FLIGHT TEST The "Clipper Graham" single-stage reusable rocket developed by NASA and McDonnell Douglas is scheduled to perform its fourth flight test beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT, on Wednesday July 31, at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. During the test flight, scheduled to last two minutes and 20 seconds, the 43-foot-tall rocket will reach an altitude of 4,100 feet and travel laterally 2,800 feet. It will pitch its nose 60 degrees toward the horizon, right itself and pitch its nose 60 degrees in the opposite direction. This flight profile is designed to test the Clipper Graham's flight characteristics as the maneuvers are conducted. The Clipper Graham has flown successfully three times. Its first flight was May 18, and its most recent flights came just 26 hours apart on June 7 and 8. The date of the vehicle's fifth flight test in the current series has not been determined. Tests beyond the five flights in this series also are under consideration. Longer-duration demonstrations of the new technologies aboard Clipper Graham would contribute to understanding of the lifetime performance of these components. The Clipper Graham was developed from the U.S. Air Force's DC-X rocket which flew eight times between August 1993 and July 1995. NASA and McDonnell Douglas extensively modified the DC-X by replacing existing systems with new technology components which are being tested for the development of future systems for a single-stage-to-orbit reusable launch vehicle. These include a composite liquid

hydrogen tank, the first ever to fly on a rocket, and a Russian-built aluminum-lithium alloy liquid oxygen tank. The vehicle's advanced technology tanks all have performed well during its first three flights, said Dan Dumbacher, Clipper Graham program manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL. -more-2The Air Force's Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, is managing flight test operations. Clipper Graham, a subsonic vehicle, is part of NASA's Reusable Launch Vehicle technology program, along with the Mach-8 X-34 small technology demonstrator, scheduled for flight demonstrations in 1998, and the flagship technology demonstrator, the X-33, which is planned to test new technologies at 15-times the speed of sound in 1999. NASA and Lockheed-Martin are developing the X-33 as a one-half scale model of an operational Reusable Launch Vehicle private industry may develop and operate during the first decade of the next century. NOTE TO EDITORS: While the Clipper Graham flight tests are not open to the general public, news media representatives may cover the tests by requesting accreditation from the White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office (phone 505/678-1134, fax 505/678-7174). The point of contact is Monte Marlin. Those media representatives already accredited must still register in advance for each flight to ensure adequate transportation to the test site. Media planning to view the test must be at Bldg. 122 by 1:00 p.m. EDT (11:00 a.m. Mountain Time) on the flight day, July 31. Videotape replays of the test will be aired on NASA TV. -end-