Flight For X-43A Low-Speed Demonstrator
The first successful flights of the X-43A Low-Speed demonstrator aircraft
occurred the week of Nov. 10 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The 12-foot-long
unpiloted research vehicle is one of a series of lightweight, remote-controlled
aircraft dedicated to demonstrating low-speed flight characteristics of
hypersonic aircraft shapes. The highly-swept, small-winged vehicle shapes
present a challenge to aerodynamicists and flight control specialists.
The shapes are optimized for flight at many times the speed of sound,
yet future operational vehicles must be capable of safe, low-speed approaches
and landings. The Low Speed Demonstrator program is managed by Bob Pegg
of Langley Research Centers Hyper-X Program Office. The X-43A-LS
vehicle was designed, built and test flown by Accurate Automation Corp.
in Chattanooga, Tenn., under contracts from NASA Small Business Innovation
Research (SBIR) for Langley and Ames Research Center.