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

)

January 21, 1998

Dom Amatore Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL (Phone: 205/544-0031) Barron Beneski Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, VA (Phone: 703/406-5528) RELEASE: 98-11 NASA COMMITS TO SECOND VEHICLE FOR X-34 PROGRAM NASA has modified its X-34 contract with Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, VA, to produce a second flight vehicle for the X-34 Program. "The purpose of a second vehicle is to reduce risk to the X-34 program," said deputy program manager Mike Allen of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL. "One of the lessons we learned from the Clipper Graham program is that it is desirable to have a second flight vehicle available, especially if it can be acquired at a relatively low cost." Clipper Graham was a previous technology demonstrator that NASA flew four times in 1996, until it was destroyed during landing. Under the new arrangement, X-34 test objectives are being expanded, adding, for example, unpowered tests to the flight profile. A second vehicle also will provide flexibility in demonstrating various technologies, Allen said, allowing testing that requires repetitive flights to continue at the same time as tests which require significant, time-consuming changes to the vehicle. In August 1996 NASA entered into a $50 million contract with Orbital Sciences Corp. to design, build and test-fly the X-34, a small, reusable technology demonstrator. An additional $10 million was committed by NASA to be spent in direct support of X34 by NASA Centers and other government agencies. Now the contract has been increased by $7.7 million to purchase long leadtime hardware, including a new wing, fuselage, avionics set, hydraulic pump and actuator system, and more. NASA has committed $2 million more for the government to provide wind tunnel testing, additional testing and analysis, and a second leading-edge Thermal

Protection System. An $8.5 million option calls for purchase of shorter leadtime hardware, such as navigation systems, while a $1.8 million option has been added for assembly of piece parts into subsystems, integration and final assembly. These options should be formally exercised shortly. The X-34 is a single-engine rocket with short wings and a small tail surface. The vehicle is 58.3 feet long, 27.7 feet wide at wing tip and 11.5 feet tall from the bottom of the fuselage to the top of the tail. Capable of flying eight times the speed of sound and reaching an altitude of 250,000 feet, the X-34 will demonstrate low-cost reusability, autonomous landing, subsonic flights through inclement weather, safe abort conditions, and landing in 20-knot cross winds. The X-34 is designed to bridge the gap between the earlier Clipper Graham, or DC-XA, subsonic demonstrator vehicle, and the larger, more advanced X-33 vehicle. The X-34 will demonstrate key technologies applicable to development of a future Reusable Launch Vehicle. The overall goal of these vehicle programs is to demonstrate the key technologies needed to dramatically lower the cost of putting a pound of payload into space. - end -