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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 14

X-33 Launch Facility Groundbreaking

From: NASANews@hq.nasa.gov
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 14:04:29 -0500 (EST)
Fwd Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 17:32:35 -0500
Subject: X-33 Launch Facility Groundbreaking

Jim Cast
Headquarters, Washington, DC               November 14, 1997
(Phone:  202/358-1779)

Fred Brown
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA
(Phone:  805/258-2663)

Dom Amatore
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
(Phone:  205/544-0031)

Ron Lindeke
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, CA
(Phone:  805/572-4153)

Ranney Adams
USAF Research Laboratory, Propulsion Directorate
Edwards Air Force Base, CA
(Phone:  805/275-5465)

RELEASE:  97-266


     Representatives from NASA, the U.S. Air Force and industry
today broke ground at the launch site for the X-33 Advanced
Technology Demonstrator during a ceremony at Edwards Air Force
Base, CA.

     The 25-acre launch site is located on the eastern portion of
Edwards, a few hundred yards north of what is known as Haystack
Butte.  The beginning of construction for X-33 launch facilities
marks another major milestone for the program -- milestones which
have included, during the last two weeks, the successful
completion of a critical design review for the vehicle and closing
out of the environmental impact statement process for X-33.  All
15 planned test flights of the X-33 will be launched from the
Edwards facility beginning in July 1999.  Landing sites are
Michael Army Air Field at Dugway Proving Ground, UT, and Malmstrom
Air Force Base, MT.

     Approximately 100 workers will construct the $30 million
launch facility, with work scheduled to be completed in a year.
Sverdrup Corp., St. Louis, MO, is overseeing construction of the

     Site plans include a retractable vehicle shelter; a rotating
vehicle launch mount; storage areas for the liquid hydrogen and
liquid oxygen used for fuel, and helium and liquid nitrogen used
in vehicle operations; a water storage tank for the sound
suppression system; a concrete flame trench; and assorted site
infrastructure.  The vehicle's operations control center will be
located in an existing test control room within Haystack Butte.

     NASA and the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works are conducting the
X-33 program under a cooperative agreement.  The X-33 is a
subscale technology demonstration prototype of a commercial
Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Lockheed Martin has labeled
"VentureStar (tm)," which the company hopes to develop early in
the next century.  Through development and demonstration flights,
the X-33 will provide the information needed for industry to
decide by the year 2000 whether to proceed with the development of
a full-scale, commercial RLV program.

     A full-scale, single-stage-to-orbit RLV could dramatically
increase reliability and lower the cost of putting a pound of
payload into space from $10,000 to $1,000.  By reducing the cost
associated with transporting payloads into Low Earth Orbit, a
commercial RLV would create new opportunities for space access and
significantly improve U.S. economic competitiveness in the
worldwide launch marketplace.  NASA will be a customer on, not the
operator of, an industry-developed RLV.

                            - end -

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