Sixth Free Flight of the X-38 Space Station Crew Return Vehicle, November 2, 2000


(Download a higher resolution picture by clicking on any picture below. Photos on the right side of the page are from NASA Dryden and the Air Force Flight Test Center History Office) Go to the Home Page

The sixth flight of the X-38 was launched on Thursday, November 2, 2000. It was the first flight of the modified V-131R configuration. It demonstrated the full-size 7,500-square-foot parafoil to be used on the actual Space Station Lifeboat. Previous X-38 flights used a 5,000-square-foot parafoil.

Goodyear Eagle Cam, Cessna 337 Skymaster A short while before the NB-52B took off with V-131R, the red Eagle Cam Cessna 337 Skymaster, N337WA with a Gyron 935 gyro-stabilized video system took off from mid-field. It transmitted live television of the parachute descent of the X-38. It is registered to Gyron Eagle, Ltd of Pasadena, California. It is operated by Wolfe Air and is regularly scheduled for MTV’s ‘Senseless Acts of Video.

Link to Wolfe Air's fleet page.

Shortly before 8:00 A.M. the NB-52B lined up with the main runway.

NASA F/A-18B chase plane A white and blue NASA F/A-18B Hornet chase plane, N846NA took off. It made one circuit of the pattern and lined up with the runway to catch the NB-52B as it took off.

Visit the NASA Dryden F-18 chase aircraft Fact Page and F-18 chase aircraft Photo Gallery.

The tower radioed clearance for the NB-52B to take-off. The shrill whine of the eight J57 turbojets increased in volume and a dense cloud of black smoke billowed up behind the Stratofortress.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat The NB-52B lifted off after rolling nearly 8,000 feet.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat

Photography Prints You can buy framed prints or greeting cards of this photograph.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat X-38, V-131R is an 80%-scale testbed of the Space Station Crew Return Vehicle.

Forty years earlier, the NB-52B takes off with the X-15-1 from runway 04 in September 1960. Photo courtesy AFFTC/HO. NB-52B takes off with X-15, September 1960

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat Mission symbols for the five previous X-38 parachute recovery system tests can be seen on the side of the fuselage of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat

Departure of the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carrying the Space Shuttle Discovery, November 2, 2000 Shortly after the NB-52B take-off, the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft departed with Shuttle OV-103, Discovery. Link to a page with more pictures of the Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base.

The NB-52B carries X-38, V-131R over the Mojave Desert on November 2, 2000. Photo ec00-0317-154 courtesy NASA Dryden. NB-52B carries X-38, V-131R over the Mojave Desert on November 2, 2000

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership with X-38 Space Station Lifeboat High overhead, contrails streamed from the engines of the NB-52B as it flew around a racetrack pattern with its F/A-18B chase plane.

The X-38 was dropped from the NB-52B at an altitude of 36,500 feet. It made an unplanned 360-degree roll after launch. After twenty-four seconds of gliding flight, it deployed an 80-foot diameter drogue chute. It deployed the 7,000 square foot parafoil at an altitude of 19,000 feet.

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership A smoke generator has been installed on the left wing of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress mothership to assist in tracking the airplane.

X-38 descending over Edwards AFB A Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter flew near the X-38 to transmit live television of the test. The parafoil turned slowly in a half circle as it descended to the lakebed.

X-38, V-131R descends toward Rogers Dry Lake on November 2, 2000. Photo EC00-0317-41 courtesy NASA Dryden. X-38, V-131R descends toward Rogers Dry Lake on November 2, 2000

X-38 descending to land on Rogers Dry Lake The trailing edge of the parachute curled downward to flare the chute for landing.

X-38 landing on Rogers Dry Lake The skids of the X-38 hit the lakebed and kicked up a cloud of brown dust as the lifting body pitched forward for a moment.

X-38 landing on Rogers Dry Lake The parafoil settled to the ground alongside the X-38, reflected in the lakebed mirage.

X-38, V-131R on Rogers Dry Lake following the sixth free flight on November 2, 2000. Photo EC00-0317-41 courtesy NASA Dryden. X-38, V-131R on Rogers Dry Lake following the sixth free flight on November 2, 2000

The NB-52B landing after launching the X-38 on November 2, 2000. Photo ec00-0318-1 courtesy NASA Dryden.NB-52B landing after launching the X-38 on November 2, 2000

Link to the NASA Dryden press release about the X-38 parachute test on November 2.

Visit the NASA Dryden X-38 Project page.

Link to the NASA Dryden X-38 Photo Gallery.

Link to the NASA Dryden X-38 Fact Sheet.

Link to the NASA Human Spaceflight X-38 Crew Return Vehicle page.

Visit the NASA Dryden B-52 Stratofortress Mothership Fact Page.


More NB-52B Displays

Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress dislays Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership.


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Balls Eight: History of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership

Balls Eight: History of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership

Balls Eight: History of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership

It has been asserted that the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress, carrying Air Force serial 52-0008, can lay claim to being the airplane that has seen and participated in more history than any other single airplane. For forty-five years, the NB-52B was a fixture at Edwards Air Force Base. While the NB-52B is most famous for launching the three North American X-15 rocket planes, it continued to serve in the role of launch platform for a multitude of programs until its final mission on November 16, 2004. It was the oldest flying B-52 by nearly ten years.
The NB-52B launched the three X-15 hypersonic rocket planes.
It launched the Northrop HL-10, Northrop M2-F2/F3, Martin Marietta X-24A and Martin Marietta X-24B lifting bodies.
It simulated the steep, power off approach to landing used by the Space Shuttles.
It assisted in the collection of data about wake turbulence from large aircraft.
It served as an air-to-air gunnery target.
It launched 3/8-scale F-15 Remotely Piloted Research Vehicles (RPRV) and Spin Research Vehicles (SRV).
It launched a Ryan Firebee II drone and the Ryan Firebee based Drones for Aeroelastic Structures Testing (DAST).
It launched the Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology (HiMAT) RPRVs.
It dropped the 48,000-pound Space Shuttle Reusable Booster Drop Test Vehicle (SRB/DTV).
It released a simulated F-111 crew module from its bomb bay to evaluate new parachute recovery systems.
It was the first airplane to launch a satellite into orbit on the Orbital Sciences Pegasus booster.
It tested the drag chute used to decelerate space shuttle orbiters.
It tested pollution reducing fuel additives with a pair of jet engines mounted under its bomb bay.
It launched the X-38 Space Station Crew Return Vehicles.
It launched the X-43A Hyper-X Supersonic Combustion Ramjets.

The book is 200 pages long. It contains 246 color photographs, 89 black and white photographs, and 2 other illustrations.

You can preview the first several pages of the book.

Books are printed on demand by Lulu.com. When you order one, it is placed in your Lulu.com shopping cart. Lulu.com prints, packages, and ships the book direct to you.

Softcover


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Hardcover


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Put a copy of the hardcover edition of Balls Eight: History of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $79.95.


Painting Guide for the Boeing Stratofortress Motherships

Painting Guide for the Boeing Stratofortress Motherships

Painting Guide for the Boeing Stratofortress Motherships

Revell has re-released Monogram's 1/72-scale Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress with X-15A-2 kit. You need this book to help you establish the appropriate paint scheme for any particular NB-52B mission that you want to model.

The book is 96 pages long.

You can preview the first several pages of the book.

Books are printed on demand by Lulu.com. When you order one, it is placed in your Lulu.com shopping cart. Lulu.com prints, packages, and ships the book direct to you.


Buy Painting Guide for the Boeing Stratofortress Motherships on Lulu.
Put a copy of the softcover edition of Painting Guide for the Boeing Stratofortress Motherships in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $44.95.



Balls Eight: Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership

2014 calendar

You can buy a 2014 calendar featuring photographs of the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership that launched the X-15s in the 1960s and continued launching research vehicles until 2004.

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Balls Eight: Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership

Lockett Books Calendar Catalog: Balls Eight: Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership

It has been asserted that the Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress, carrying Air Force serial 52-0008, can lay claim to being the airplane that has seen and participated in more history than any other single airplane. This calendar features a dozen pictures of the NB-52B carrying some of the research vehicles that it launched over the years. Photo sources: Air Force, NASA, Richard Lockett, Brian Lockett:

North American X-15-1, 1960
North American X-15-3, 1963
North American X-15A-2, 1967
Northrop HL-10, 1969
Martin-Mariettta X-24A, 1970
Northrop M2-F3, 1972
Martin-Mariettta X-24B, 1973
Orbital Sciences Pegasus, 1989
Supersonic Supercruise, 1995
X-38 V-131R, 2000
X-43A Hyper-X, 2004

Buy my Balls Eight: Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership 2014 calendar at Lulu! Put a copy of the Balls Eight: Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership: 2014 calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $16.95.

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Books about Edwards Air Force Base and the X-planes available from

The X-Planes: X-1 to X-45: 3rd Edition by Jay Miller The X-Planes: X-1 to X-45: 3rd Edition by Jay Miller

Test Colors: The Aircraft of Muroc Army Airfield and Edwards Air Force Base by Rene Francillon Test Colors: The Aircraft of Muroc Army Airfield and Edwards Air Force Base by Rene Francillon

X-Planes at Edwards by Steve Pace X-Planes at Edwards (Enthusiast Color Series) by Steve Pace

Edwards Air Force Base : Open House at the USAF Flight Test Center 1957-1966 by Robert D. Archer Edwards Air Force Base : Open House at the USAF Flight Test Center 1957-1966 : A Photo Chronicle of Aircraft Displayed (Schiffer Military History) by Robert D. Archer


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Go to home page of the Goleta Air and Space Museum.