Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Saga of the X-38

It was a chance trip to the Midwest on a cold winter day in December that took me within striking distance of the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. The museum had been on my list to visit if the opportunity ever afforded itself for me to be in the area. The reason for my interest was NASA’s X-38, also known as the CRV (Crew Return/Rescue Vehicle). The X-38 was first proposed in the 1990’s and was to be NASA's first new manned spacecraft since the Shuttle. The craft was given to the museum on permanent loan to display alongside its primarily military aircraft. I had inquired over the years as to the whereabouts of the vehicles. Three had been built for testing within Earth’s atmosphere; a fourth test vehicle would have been rated for testing in space, but it was never completed.