Skip Top nav bar link group topnav end piece go to business section go to education section go to history section go to gallery section go to news section go to organizations section go to research section go to search engine go to site index topnav end piece
NASA Meatball X-43A Photo Collection banner
 
X-43A

The black X-43A rides on the front of a modified Pegasus booster rocket hung from the special pylon under the wing of NASA's B-52B mother ship. The photo was taken during a captive carry flight Jan. 26, 2004 to verify systems before an upcoming launch.

 
Photo Number: EC04-0029-50
Photo Date: January 26, 2004
 
Formats: 584x480 JPEG Image (157 KBytes)
1245x1024 JPEG Image (715 KBytes)
2919x2400 JPEG Image (3899 KBytes)
 
Photo
Description:
The black X-43A rides on the front of a modified Pegasus booster rocket hung from the special pylon under the wing of NASA's B-52B mother ship. The photo was taken during a captive carry flight Jan. 26, 2004 to verify systems before an upcoming launch.
 
Project
Description:
X-43A will ride on the first stage of an Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, Virginia, booster rocket, which will be launched by Dryden's B-52 at about 40,000 feet. For each flight, the booster will accelerate the X-43A research vehicle to the test conditions (Mach 7 or 10) at approximately 100,000 feet, where it will separate from the booster and fly under its own power. Orbital Science's Launch Vehicles Division in Chandler, Arizona. will construct the Hyper-X launch vehicles.

In a combined research effort involving Dryden, Langley, and several industry partners, NASA demonstrated the value of its X-43A hypersonic research aircraft, as it became the first air-breathing, unpiloted, scramjet-powered plane to fly freely by itself. The March 27 flight, originating from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, began with the Agency's B-52B launch aircraft carrying the X-43A out to the test range over the Pacific Ocean off the California coast. The X-43A was boosted up to its test altitude of about 95,000 feet, where it separated from its modified Pegasus booster and flew freely under its own power.

Two very significant aviation milestones occurred during this test flight: first, controlled accelerating flight at Mach 7 under scramjet power, and second, the successful stage separation at high dynamic pressure of two non-axisymmetric vehicles. To top it all off, the flight resulted in the setting of a new aeronautical speed record. The X-43A reached a speed of over Mach 7, or about 5,000 miles per hour faster than any known aircraft powered by an air-breathing engine has ever flown.

 
NASA Photo by: Carla Thomas
 
Keywords: X-43A, X-43, scramjet, captive carry, B-52, B-52B, 008, ship 2, Pegasus rocket
 


Last Modified: January 30, 2004
Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
Curator: PAO Webmasters

NASA Website Privacy Statement