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X-33 to land in Dugway in '99

From: Rich Thomson 
Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 17:18:08 -0600
Subject: X-33 to land in Dugway in '99

Regarding the recent speculation that Dugway's Michael AAF would be
the "new Groom Lake", I did a little searching and found this article
on the X-33 from the Deseret News archives. <URL:>.

   Deseret News Archives,
   Tuesday, October 29, 1996


By Joe Bauman, Science Writer

Hurtling toward ground at 11,000 miles an hour, the massive X-33
experimental vehicle will generate a mighty sonic boom, loud enough to
break windows in its flight path, NASA officials said Monday night.

Since few windows will be in the vehicle's flight path when it comes in
for landings at Dugway Proving Ground in 1999, the main concern is the
impact on wildlife, particularly those at Fish Springs National
Wildlife Refuge, 30 miles to the southwest.

``It can produce a startle effect on the wildlife because it's an
unexpected, sharp noise,'' said Rebecca McCaleb, director of
environmental engineering and management at Marshall Space Flight
Center, Huntsville, Ala.

McCaleb, in charge of writing the environmental impact statement for
the X-33, spoke at a public meeting held in the Dugway Proving Ground
base theater. About 60 residents attended, giving the project an
enthusiastic welcome.

She was among NASA officials and consultants speaking at the first of
three public meetings this week on the X-33 in Utah. The other sessions
are Tuesday night at the Tooele Senior Center and Wednesday in Salt
Lake City's Airport Quality Inn, 5575 W. Amelia Earhart Drive; both
start at 7 p.m.

The X-33 is the expected prototype for the next generation of reusable
space vehicle. Designed to launch in an upright position, the
wedge-shaped spaceship will carry all its fuel with it, rather than
using booster rockets that fall away. It will glide in for a landing at
an airstrip.

Built by Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works with government support, the
X-33 is to be 63 feet long and 68 feet wide at its base. It will weigh
136 tons at launch, including 105 tons of fuel.

X-33 is a half-size prototype for the VentureStar, which should be able
to lift 45,000 pounds into low Earth orbit.

During 15 test flights in 1999, the X-33 will take off from Edwards Air
Force Base near Lancaster, Calif., reach 50 miles altitude, and land at
short-, mid- and long-range landing sites.

The short-range targets are two alternatives in California, the only
mid-range site is Dugway's Michael Army Air Field, and long-range
flights would land either in Washington state or Montana.

After it lands, about 50 private contractors and NASA experts will bolt
the X-33 onto the back of a conventional jet for shuttle back to

Responding to a question about the sonic boom, McCaleb said, ``It
appears to be very close to what we experience with the shuttle orbiter
. . . We pay one or two - I'm not sure (how many) - a small number of
claims'' when the shuttle lands at Edwards.

The claims are for cracked windows in the zone beneath the shuttle's
approach, she said.

Asked to explain the Ven-ture-Star's value, McCaleb said it will drive
down the cost of getting material into orbit. NASA will be able to use
more of its money to do things in space, not just to get there, she

Gene Austin, NASA's X-33 program manager, said that when he joined NASA
many years ago, he believed man would shortly visit Mars. ``I still
hope we'll go to Mars sometime in my lifetime,'' he said. Dreams like
that might be facilitated by the VentureStar's reducing the cost of
getting material into space, Austin said.

The Deseret News asked whether Utah will have any further involvement
with X-33 and its successor following the few months of landings in

``Both Alliant Techsystems and Thiokol helped shape the program,''
replied David Urie, who developed the X-33 concept for Lockheed Martin
and is now a consultant for the project. ``It's a team we're welding
together, and we expect it to stick.''

Alliant Techsystems is in Magna and West Valley City; it was previously
owned by Hecules Inc. Thiokol, based in Brigham City, builds the
shuttle's booster rockets.

(c) 1997 Deseret News Publishing Co.

  ``Between stimulus and response is the will to choose.''  -- Steven Covey
     3D Paint: The Power to Create in 3D;		Rich Thomson
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