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X-43A Fluid and Environmental Systems: Ground and Flight Operation and Lessons LearnedThe X-43A Hyper-X program demonstrated the first successful flights of an airframe integrated scramjet powered hypersonic vehicle. The X-43A vehicles established successive world records for jet-powered vehicles at speeds of Mach 7 and Mach 10. The X-43A vehicle is a subscale version of proposed hypersonic reconnaissance strike aircraft. Scaled down to a length of 12 ft (3.66 m), the lifting body design with high fineness ratio resulted in very small internal space available for fluid systems and their corresponding environmental conditioning systems. Safe testing and operation of the X-43A fluid and environmental systems was critical for mission success, not only for the safety of the flight crew in the NASA B-52B carrier aircraft, but also to maintain the reliability of vehicle systems while exposed to dynamics and hostile conditions encountered during the boost trajectory. The X-43A fluid and environmental systems successfully managed explosive, pyrophoric, inert, and very high pressure gases without incident. This report presents a summary of the checkout and flight validation of the X-43A fluid systems. The testing used for mission assurance is summarized. System performance during captive carry and launch flights is presented. The lessons learned are also discussed.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Armstrong Flight Research Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Vachon, Michael Jacob
(NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Edwards, CA, United States)
Grindle, Thomas J.
(NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Edwards, CA, United States)
St.John, Clinton W.
(NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Edwards, CA, United States)
Dowdell, David B.
(NASA Dryden Flight Research Center Edwards, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2005
Subject Category
Ground Support Systems And Facilities (Space)
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA/CIRA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies
Location: Capua
Country: Italy
Start Date: May 16, 2005
End Date: May 20, 2005
Sponsors: Italian Aerospace Research Center, American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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