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starship-design: FW: SSRT: 1st Major Flight Component for X-33 Arrives at Palmdale (fw
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
Behalf Of Chris W. Johnson
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 1998 4:39 PM
To: Single Stage Rocket Technology News
Subject: SSRT: 1st Major Flight Component for X-33 Arrives at Palmdale
Headquarters, Washington, DC February 11, 1998
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, CA
Lockheed Martin Michoud Space Systems, New Orleans, LA
FIRST MAJOR FLIGHT COMPONENT FOR X-33 ARRIVES AT PALMDALE
NASA and Lockheed Martin Tuesday saw their X-33 technology
demonstrator move from drawing board to plant floor as the first
major flight component arrived at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works
vehicle assembly facility in Palmdale, CA.
The 26-foot-long, 5,500-pound aluminum liquid oxygen tank
that will form much of the nose and forward third of the X-33
vehicle arrived Tuesday afternoon by air from the Lockheed Martin
Michoud Space Systems facility, New Orleans, LA.
"The arrival of the liquid oxygen tank marks the start of an
ambitious assembly schedule that will see the X-33 vehicle roll
out and begin flight tests within 18 months," said Jerry Rising,
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works vice president for X-33/VentureStar.
"This is a significant achievement in making the X-33 vehicle
ready for flight, as the liquid oxygen tank is the first major
element to be placed into the assembly fixture," added Gene
Austin, NASA X-33 program manager.
The tank, designed to hold more than 181,000 pounds of liquid
oxygen, will supply the oxidizer needed to burn the vehicle's
fuel, liquid hydrogen.
The liquid oxygen tank design also plays a key structural
role in the X-33. It has a complex, two-lobed structure allowing
for a close fit within the vehicle's outer shell. When filled,
the tank will account for about 65 percent of total vehicle weight
The liquid oxygen tank design is one of a number of
challenging technology areas that are key to the X-33, including
the vehicle's two cutting-edge composite liquid hydrogen tanks,
two linear aerospike engines, the vehicle's rugged metallic
thermal protection system and advanced avionics systems, all of
which will be arriving at the Palmdale facility during the coming
year. Vehicle assembly is scheduled to be completed in late
spring 1999, with the first flight, to be launched from Edwards
Air Force Base, CA, scheduled for July 1999.
The wedge-shaped X-33 is a sub-scale prototype technology
demonstrator leading to the next generation of commercially
developed and operated single-stage-to orbit vehicles, flying
after the turn of the Century, which could dramatically reduce the
cost of putting payloads into space.