Modified van helps astronauts and engineers develop space lifeboat

Press Release From: Dryden Flight Research Center
Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2001

At NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, located on Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert, a modified van is used to test equipment - and astronauts - to develop a landing system for a windowless Crew Return Vehicle that might one day serve as an outer-space lifeboat, attached to the International Space Station. The Crew Return Vehicle looks like a spacecraft; the van looks like - a van.

Nicknamed the Vomit Van because its crew accommodations have occasionally been known to induce motion sickness, the terrestrial research vehicle allows astronauts to recline as they would in the Crew Return Vehicle, while they view video monitors to perform or simulate landing chores with NASA's X-38 research craft, a prototype of the CRV that is released from a B-52 mother ship high overhead.

NASA's Johnson Space Center is in charge of the X-38/CRV program. Flight and ground testing takes place at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center where the expanse of Rogers Dry Lakebed affords a unique testing ground. More information about NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and the X-38/CRV program is available at Dryden's web site at where the Gallery section includes high-resolution X-38 images suitable for print.

For more information about NASA Dryden's participation in the X-38 program, call public affairs specialist Leslie Williams at (661) 276-3893.

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