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First Flight For X-43A Low-Speed Demonstrator

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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 Center’s 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.


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