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X-37 and Mojave/Scaled

Posted by: koxinga - Wed Sep 15, 2004 2:48 am
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X-37 and Mojave/Scaled 
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Post X-37 and Mojave/Scaled   Posted on: Wed Sep 15, 2004 2:48 am
Unnamed US agency? WhiteKnight involved in testing?

I get the feeling that Mojave/Scaled have moved more from their traditional aeronautical background and business and more into the space aspects. Probably why they decided to start Mojave Aerospace on top of Scaled Composites.



NASA Transfers X-37 to Unidentified U.S. Agency
By Brian Berger
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 14 September 2004
02:21 pm ET


WASHINGTON — NASA has transferred its X-37 technology demonstration program to an unidentified U.S. government agency that plans to go ahead with atmospheric drop tests of the prototype space plane next year.

NASA spokesman Michael Braukus said Sept. 13 the U.S. space agency would remain involved in the X-37 program, but would no longer run the show. The lead, he said, has been given to a government agency that for now NASA is not permitted to name.

"The government entity is classified," Braukus said. "We will be able to acknowledge who that partner is when they give us permission." Braukus said he expected to receive that permission soon.

News that lead responsibility for the X-37 program was changing hands was first reported by the Desert News, a newspaper covering Mojave, Calif., and surrounding areas. The newspaper also reported that the X-37 would be carried aloft for next year’s drop tests by the White Knight, the Scaled Composites-built aircraft that carried SpaceShipOne aloft in June for its historic manned suborbital space shot, the first in a privately funded effort.

Braukus said Scaled Composites would be involved in the X-37 approach and landing demonstrations next year, but could not say whether the Mojave-based company would be using the White Knight or some other aircraft. The B-52 aircraft that NASA normally uses for such drop tests would not be used, a decision made by the agency now in charge of the X-37 program, he said.

"The cost analysis favored Scaled Composites," Braukus said.

Scaled Composites spokeswoman Kay LeFebvre would not confirm the company’s involvement in the planned dropped tests and referred questions about the White Knight’s role in the X-37 program to American Mojave Aerospace Ventures. That company, a Paul Allen and Burt Rutan partnership that owns SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft, recently announced that it would make its first official try for the $10 million Ansari X-Prize Sept. 29.

A telephone call placed to Jeff Johnson at American Mojave Aerospace Ventures was not immediately returned.

NASA's involvement in the X-37 dates back to 1998, when the project was selected as the first of a planned series of flight demonstrators dubbed Future X. At the time, NASA agreed to share the X-37’s projected $173 million cost with Boeing and the U.S. Air Force. After the Air Force announced in 2001 that it would stop funding the project, NASA told Boeing that the company would have to submit a new proposal for the X-37 to be eligible for additional funding.

After persistent prodding from U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), NASA in 2002 awarded Boeing a $301 million contract for two X-37 vehicles instead of one. One of those vehicles would conduct a series of drop tests within the atmosphere, paving the way for the flight of the orbit and re-entry vehicle in 2006.

But NASA directed Boeing in late 2003 to throttle back on development of the orbit and re-entry vehicle and has since directed Boeing to stop work on that part of the program altogether. X-37 was dealt a further setback earlier this year when a NASA review concluded that the program was not a good fit with the agency’s new space exploration agenda.

Braukus saidan orbital X-37 flight remains on hold but the atmospheric tests are back on track now that NASA has a new partner willing to take the lead on the program. Braukus said NASA has spent $325 million on the program to date.

Boeing spokesman Ed Meme said Sept. 13 that the X-37 program is no longer managed by Boeing NASA Systems and is now under the purview of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. Eric Warren, a spokesman for Boeing’s El Segundo, Calif.-based operations, could not immediately identify the government agency now in charge of X-37.
Space.com
http://www.space.com/news/nasa_x37_040914.html


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 15, 2004 2:58 am
Editorial note on Nasawatch.com

In an additional email Tuesday morning, Mike Braukus commented: "I read an article this morning from Bill Deaver of the Desert News claiming that I said that Rutan's White Knight will be used -- if you plan to use that article it's inaccurate. I told Mr. Deaver that I didn't know what aircraft Scaled Composites planned to use to drop the X-37 and that he should contact them for that information."


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 15, 2004 5:18 am
It's not like Scaled has a lot of choices for carrier aircraft. It's either White Knight, or Proteus. Then again they could build yet another new plane, or variant of Proteus.

Scaled's had it's hand in space-design before. They did a lot of work for Rotary Rocket. Now their competing against Airlaunch, headed by the man who once headed Rotary.

Now, for my rant: What the hell is X-37 supposed to be testing? X-33, X-34, X-38(sigh).. all cancelled, but the X-37 is like a bad penny. It's been bounced up to OSP, flirted with CEV, kept alive on a respirator at Marshall, and now it belongs to "Other Government Agencies". Add to that, is how it's supposed to get up in the air. If it's a classified payload, it probably can't fly on the shuttle now, because it would have to be on an orbit to allow docking to the ISS in case of a problem (unless they decided to just cut bait and dump the X-37 prior to an emergency docking.. Nothing to see here comrades.. just flushing out the constellation urion!")

So it's gone from being launched several times from the shuttle cargo bay, to maybe launched once from the shuttle cargo bay, to being tested in air only, to now being possibly launched by EELV or shuttle. I'll be money that that is the last time we hear the word shuttle from the government in connection with X-37, but somehow I think we'll be hearing about X-37 till it goes black and we are advised that it was just a typo on a line item spending bill and that we should probably just forget about it. I have a nagging suspicion it was supposed to be the Military Spaceplane from the beginning. It would make a very handy use-at-will spy satellite as well, especially launched from polar orbits out of Vandenburg.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 15, 2004 8:39 am
Well, as long as it doesnt continue to suck from Nasa's budget, i got no problem with the move. It is the last of the x-programs from Goldin's days.

As for the military aspects, i recalled that this well known from the start of the X-37 program. My only question is why is there a need for further drop tests? The program had supposed to go orbital for the next phase of its test, which Scaled and Mojave currently cannot do with the WK. What the WK and other carrier can do is to do the normal drop test at increased altitudes. That little rocket booster at the rear end of the X-37 is not for it to reach orbit SS1 style; it is for in-orbit manevouers and de-orbiting, capabilities which the Air Force and NRO are looking for.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 15, 2004 2:53 pm
replace X-37's AR2-3 with Fastrac, put that on top of a launch-anytime SRB, then you've got a pretty effective military space plane.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 16, 2004 1:21 am
Latest news indicates DARPA is the unnamed agency.


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Post Re: X-37 and Mojave/Scaled   Posted on: Thu Sep 16, 2004 1:24 am
koxinga wrote:
Unnamed US agency? WhiteKnight involved in testing?

DARPA

For more details.

http://www.space.com/news/x37_darpa_040915.html


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Post    Posted on: Mon May 30, 2005 10:18 am
Yeah, I know ... this thread died last year ... but I want to ask a question and I have this Frankenstein complex thing going ...

Looks like things are beginning to heat up... Whiteknight has been taxiing around with the X37 attached ... they don't know when captive flights will take place, within a week or two would be my bet (barring unforseen glitches of course).

Anybody remember the specific chronology of WK/SS1 steps? Specifically, how long was the gap between beginning captive taxi tests and beginning captive flights?

DKH

(I did see that this news item made it to Sigurd's news page, but I suspect it was probably missed by most)

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:44 pm
This was interesting:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=823

"As you can imagine, this soon became a Boeing/DFRC-only development due to the fact that no one on the MSFC X-37 team has the slightest technical competence."


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 03, 2005 8:52 am
publiusr wrote:
This was interesting:

Well yes it was interesting, a bit. But that reference is now more than two years old. Tell me how it has relevance now.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 03, 2005 4:16 pm
I believe the X37 is a contender for Darpa's rapid reaction deployment project, or something like thta, can't remmeber the name.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:30 pm
Mmph. I remember the project that you're talking about, and a quick search of the Aerospace America archives turns up the answer: FALCON, for Force Application and Launch from the CONtinental U.S.. The goal, as stated in the article:

John Croft, in his Aerospace America article 'Weapons Goes Hypersonic', wrote:
...to provide the Dept. of Defense with a family of vehicles that can express-deliver "conventional" munitions to a hostile location anywhere on Earth in 2 hr or less, hitting within 10 ft or less of a target at an impact speed of 4,000 ft/sec. ...


Y'know, I'm getting kinda used to UBB code... I know some of this stuff isn't in the manual.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:23 pm
Dr_Keith_H wrote:
publiusr wrote:
This was interesting:

Well yes it was interesting, a bit. But that reference is now more than two years old. Tell me how it has relevance now.

DKH


It describes some of the problems. I also hear that X-37 had a bit "too much lift." Something to think about if you are flying White Knight and are thinking about drop tests.

It wouldn't do for it to pitch up and collide with that spindly thing.

Read that article I linked to again where it tells about "recontact."

Just something to bear in mind if you are the pilot. Rutan probably knows about the recontact problem--but I posted the info here just in case the X-37 folks forgot to tell him.

Pass the word.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:00 pm
Now that you mention it, I think Rutan does know about the “recontact problem”! I have been wondering why the SS1 drop – considering it is already at flying speed – was so aggressive. In fact deliberately and exactly at zero lift, free fall! (Watch the dirt fly in the video).

Its almost as if he knows what he’s doing!


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:10 am
I have posted this link in another thread but it might be more apt here as it talks about T-space doing drop tests with dummy boosters and rotating them so that they cross behind the launch vehicle.

http://home.businesswire.com/portal/sit ... ewsLang=en

Here is T-Space's picture gallery of the tests.

http://www.transformspace.com/index.cfm ... 9666624BC0

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