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X-38 CRV

X-38 CRV in Free Flight

The X-38 program was initiated to demonstrate the technologies required to develop a Crew Return Vehicle (CRV). The X-38 design effort was an alternative to the Russian Soyuz capsule, which was too small for the Station's six person crew. The CRV will be ferried to the International Space Station by the Space Shuttle where it will remain docked for up to two years and serve as a crew life boat in the event of an emergency. The X-38 design uses a lifting body concept originally developed by the Air Force's X-24A project in the mid-1970's. After the de-orbit engine module is jettisoned, the X-38 would glide from orbit unpowered like the Space Shuttle and then use a steerable, parafoil parachute for its final descent to landing. Its landing gear would consist of skids rather than wheels.

X-38 CRV Cut Away View

Summit Products provided hardware for the three main battery systems: the Deorbit Propulsion Module Fuel Gauge, the Cabin Battery Chargers and the 270 Volt Battery Charger. The Deorbit Propulsion Module Fuel Gauge measured the capacity of the Deorbit Propulsion Module Battery provided by Friwo of Germany. The Cabin Battery Chargers were used to power all mission critical systems, including avionics and life support. The 270 Volt Battery was used to power the flight control surfaces and Parasail steering motors.

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