|Air Force Loans NASA 'New' B-52 |
Air Force Loans NASA 'New' B-52
By Leigh Anne Bierstine, Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs.
Edwards Air Force Base, California -- (AFPN) August 3, 2001 -- The Air Force Flight Test Center here handed over an "H" model B-52 Stratofortress to NASA during a ceremony Aug 1.
The B-52 will serve as an air-launch aircraft and is expected to boost both NASA and Air Force efforts in researching and demonstrating technologies for future access-to-space vehicles.
A crew from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., delivered the aircraft here July 30 for pre-depot inspection. The aircraft will replace NASA's B-52B "008," in the 2003 to 2004 timeframe. It will take about one year for the B-52H to be ready for flight research duties. This time includes programmed depot maintenance, construction of the new pylon, installation of the flight research instrumentation equipment, and aircraft envelope clearance flights.
"Most aerospace vehicles require some kind of captive carry to expose them to the actual flight environment and then to bring it back from that environment," said Lt. Col. Don Thompson, director of the center's access to space office. "In the meantime, the B-52 provides a support service for the space vehicle in terms of power and instrumentation to monitor the vehicle while it is exposed to the space environment."
AFFTC, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and the Air Force Research Lab have an alliance that serves as a trilateral, cooperative relationship to improve service and lower cost to internal and external customers.
"We have been seeking a replacement aircraft for our existing B-52B-model for some time," said Kevin Petersen Dryden Center director. "It is great to see the H-model finally arrive. "It should provide us an excellent launch platform for the future."