NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
X-38 aircraft descending under its steerable parafoil parachute (not seen) after being released from 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 opening a parachute to slow its descent, followed by its steerable 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, California, USA, on 9 July 1999.
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