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Space History Photo: X-38 Ship #2 Release from B-52

space history, nasa, lifting body
The X-38 research vehicle drops away from NASA's B-52 mothership during a 1999 test flight. (Image credit: NASA | Carla Thomas)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the X-38 research vehicle drops away from NASA's B-52 mothership immediately after being released from the B-52's wing pylon. More than 30 years earlier, this same B-52 launched the original lifting-body vehicles flight tested by NASA and the Air Force at what is now called the Dryden Flight Research Center and the Air Force Flight Test Center.

NASA B-52 Tail Number 008 is an air launch carrier aircraft "mothership," as well as a research aircraft platform that has been used on a variety of research projects.

Each weekday, looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.