Another week, another spaceflight image for you to decipher.
Below is this week's unique picture from the Flight International
spaceflight archive. Guess what's in the picture (giving as much detail as you can) or just add an amusing caption, to find yourself the king(or
queen) of all thing space.
AirSpace - more than just hot air
This was a mock-up of the first iteration of the X-34. This version was to be able to deploy a upper stage to put a small payload in low earth orbit. This early concept was unusual, as it was to re-enter upside-down
AH, THE IRONY..........
The Book : X-PLANES PHOTO SCRAPBOOK
The Author : Dennis. R. Jenkins
The Pages : 102-103
The Text : "The Orbital Sciences X-34 was a reusable testbed vehicle designed to demonstrate technologies that were considered essential to lowering the cost of access to space. ..... The X-34 was not breaking any new ground performance-wise - the X-15A-2 had flown nearly as fast 30 years before - but was supposed to demonstrate technologies to make rockets cheaper and more reliable. ..... Although the program appeared to be progressing satisfactorily, revisions to requirements led to significant cost growth and schedule slip. In March 2001 NASA cancelled the X-34 program before any of the aircraft had actually flown.....".
Ah, the irony of fate..... another low cost project cancelled on the ground of..... skyrocketing costs.......
It seems that once again many of you knew what the picture was, but here is a full description:
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center managed X-34 technology demonstrator was a flying laboratory for technologies and operations applicable to future low-cost, reusable launch vehicles. It was one of a family of technology demonstrators aimed at lowering launch costs from $10,000 to $1,000 per pound. On 28 August 1996 NASA signed a contract, now worth more than $85 million, with Orbital Sciences for design, development and test flights of the X-34. The 50-month contract included three flight test vehicles. NASA and other government agencies were to spend an additional $16 million for wind tunnel testing, thermal protection systems, vehicle health monitoring, ground support, engine testing and flight support. Orbital invested $10 million in corporate funds for modifications to its L-1011 carrier aircraft to accommodate the X-34. Go here for more info