NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
X-38 aircraft in free flight after being released from the wing pylon of a US Air Force B-52 bomber. This unpiloted aircraft is part of an effort to build a Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) for the International Space Station (ISS). If there was an emergency on the ISS, the CRV would glide through the atmosphere before deploying a parachute to slow its descent, followed by a steerable parafoil parachute. Here, the X-38 was released at a height of 9.6km. It flew for 31 seconds before its first parachute opened. This test flight took place at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in California, USA, on 9 July 1999.
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