The X-37 will be NASAs first X-vehicle demonstrator
to operate during both the orbital and re-entry phases of flight. The robotic space plane,
which is a 120 percent scale derivative of the Air Force's X-40A, will play a key role in
NASAs effort to dramatically cut the cost of putting payloads into space.
The X-37 will be ferried to orbit by the Space Shuttle or
an expendable launch vehicle where it will be deployed. The vehicle will then remain
in orbit for up to 21 days and perform a variety of experiments before re-entering the
atmosphere and landing on a conventional runway. The design requirement for the
vehicle is 20 flights and landings, but only two are currently scheduled by NASA.
The X-37 will demonstrate 41 advanced airframe, propulsion
and operations technologies that can support various launch vehicle and spacecraft
designs. A major focus of the X-37 will seek improvement of todays spacecraft
thermal protection systems. The systems now in use are fragile and expensive to maintain.
The X-37, which is being built by The Boeing Company, will
be powered by a single AR-2/3 hydrogen peroxide and JP-10 (jet fuel) engine. The
vehicle will also have an internal seven by four foot payload bay to house up to 500
pounds of experiments. Unpowered atmospheric tests are scheduled for 2001 with the
first orbital flight planned for 2002.
||The Boeing Company
5301 Bolsa Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA 92647-2099
|Point of Contact:
||Marshal Media Relations
||Kennedy Space Center
(28.6 deg. N Latitude)
||NASA X-37 Web Site