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15 July 1998

Secretive facility known for development of U-2 and F-117A Stealth Fighter opens doors to both real and cyber-visitors for digital audio Q&A

(Washington, DC) -- July 15 -- On Friday, July 17, the National Space Society will host a special, two-hour live audio webcast from the site of construction of the X-33, a demonstrator for testing techologies needed to build a fully reusable space vehicle. The webcast, which takes place from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. PST from the floor of the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California, is part of a second anniversary celebration of the July 1996 agreement between NASA and Lockheed Martin to form the X-33 program.

The digital audio webcast, powered by InterVU, will be available on the Internet at <>.

Persons interested in X-33, the development of reusable launch vehicles, and in reducing the cost of access to space are invited to submit questions in advance or during the event by using the form at the website <>. Questions will also be taken from a live audience at the Skunk Works facility. Webcast guests include managers of the X-33 program from Lockheed Martin and NASA.

Since 1943, the Skunk Works facility has been known for developing advanced aircraft for combat, transport, reconnaissance and research, including the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117A Stealth Fighter and others. No longer shrouded in complete secrecy, Skunk Works is now applying its expertise to construction of the X-33.

Through a series of test flights, the autonomous X-33 will take off vertically, reaching altitudes of up to 60 miles and speeds approaching Mach 14, and land horizontally like an airplane. Flight tests for the X-33 are planned to originate from Edwards Air Force Base in California beginning in the summer of 1999. It will land initially at Michael Army Air Field at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, approximately 450 miles away and a flight time of 14 minutes. More demanding flights are planned later from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana, taking 24 minutes to cover 950 miles.

The National Space Society, founded in 1974, is an independent, nonprofit space advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 23,000 members and 90 chapters around the world actively promote a spacefaring civilization. Information on NSS and space exploration is available at <>.

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Updated Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 15:26:27
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