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


February 26, 1999

Kirsten Williams Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA (Phone: 805/258-2662) Dominic Amatore Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL (Phone: 256/544-0031) Barron Beneski Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, VA (Phone: 703/406-5000) RELEASE: 99-28 X-34 ARRIVES AT NASA DRYDEN FOR TESTS The X-34 technology-testbed demonstrator, structural test article arrived Wednesday at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, for ground testing and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of its L-1011 mothership. The structural test article consists of the X-34's airframe. It was shipped from Orbital Sciences Corporation's facilities in Dulles, VA, in two separate trucks -- one for the fuselage and another for the wing. The first vehicle will be assembled at Dryden before undergoing ground vibration tests, which ensure that there are no potentially hazardous vibrations during flight. The L-1011 will undergo ground vibration tests as well, both alone and mated to the X-34. "We are excited to be part of the X-34 team. We are pleased to be able to make a contribution to this project that adds to Dryden's legacy in test flight," Dryden X-34 project manager Dave Bushman said.

Once ground tests are complete, the X-34 will make six or seven captive-carry flights mated to the L-1011. This will allow the FAA to approve modifications made to the L-1011 to enable it to carry the X-34, a much larger vehicle than the L-1011's normal Pegasus Launch Vehicle payload. Certification flights will take place in Edwards Air Force Base, CA, airspace with Dryden providing hangar space, fuel and control room facilities. Once certified, a separate X-34 flight vehicle will be transported to the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range, NM, where the first portion of the planned 27 flight tests will be conducted. Once the X-34 has demonstrated safe and reliable performance at White Sands, the project plans to move to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, FL, for the remainder of the test flights. 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. Plans call for the reusable X-34 to fly at a rate of 25 times per year. The autonomously operated, suborbital aerospace vehicle will be air-launched from an L-1011. 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 project is part of NASA's Office of Aero-Space Technology, which oversees NASA's efforts to develop the technology to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space. Key technologies being demonstrated by the X-34 include composite primary and secondary airframe structures; composite reusable propellant tanks, cryo insulation and propulsion system elements; advanced Thermal Protection Systems and materials; low-cost avionics, including differential Global Positioning System and Inertial Navigation System; integrated vehicle health monitoring system; flush air data system; and automated vehicle checkout. The

X-34 also will have the potential to serve as a platform for demonstration of additional technologies and experiments. The X-34 will be powered by the Fastrac engine, which is currently in design and development at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL. Fastrac is a single-stage main engine, which burns a mixture of liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene (RP-1). Six NASA centers, two Department of Defense installations and an industry team led by prime contractor Orbital Sciences Corp. are supporting the development and eventual flight testing of the X-34. The program is managed for NASA by Marshall. -end-