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X-33 Advanced Technology Demonstrator Photo Gallery Contact Sheet X-33 Advanced Technology Demonstrator Contact Sheet

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Formats: Low Resolution Image Contact Sheet (121 KBytes)
Medium Resolution Image Contact Sheet (121 KBytes)
High Resolution Image Contact Sheet (121 KBytes)

These are the image contact sheets for each image resolution of the NASA Dryden X-33 Advanced Technology Demonstrator Photo Gallery.

On July 2, 1996, NASA selected Lockheed Martin to design, build and fly the X-33 test vehicle between March and December 1999.

The X-33 was to have been a wedged-shaped subscale technology demonstrator prototype of a potential future Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) that Lockheed Martin dubbed VentureStar. The company hoped to develop VentureStar early this century. Through demonstration flight and ground research, NASA's X-33 program was to have provide the information needed for industry representatives such as Lockheed Martin to decide whether to proceed with the development of a full-scale, commercial RLV program.

The X-33 design was based on a lifting body shape with two revolutionary "linear aerospike" rocket engines and a rugged metallic thermal protection system. The vehicle also was to have had lightweight components and fuel tanks built to conform to the vehicle's outer shape. Time between X-33 flights was planned to normally be seven days, but the program hoped to demonstrate a two-day turnaround between flights during the flight-test phase of the program.

The X-33 was to have been an unpiloted vehicle that took off vertically like a rocket and landed horizontally like an airplane. It was planned to reach altitudes of up to 50 miles and high hypersonic speeds. The X-33 Program was managed by the Marshall Space flight Center and was planned to have been launched at a special launch site on Edwards Air Force Base. Technical problems with the composite liquid hydrogen tank resulted in the program being cancelled in February 2001.

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Keywords: X-33; Lockheed Martin; VentureStar; RLV; Reusable Launch Vehicle; aerospike rocket engines; Dryden Flight Research Center; Marshall Space Flight Center; lifting bodies.

Last Modified: December 21, 2004
Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
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