NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
X-38 spacecraft. First X-38 spacecraft, a proto- type emergency "lifeboat" design to allow the crew of the proposed International Space Station (ISS) to escape. The X-38 would be launched aboard a Space Shuttle, and would remain docked to the ISS until required. It could also be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket as part of joint European-American manned space missions. On its return to Earth, the X-38 will glide unpowered through the atmosphere using its fuselage to generate lift, before deploying a steerable parafoil parachute just before landing. Mainly made of fibre glass, this prototype will be tested from an aircraft in 1997. The first X-38 space mission is due in 2000.
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