X-37 Flaw Found, Fixed

Dornheim, Michael A.
July 2003
Aviation Week & Space Technology;7/7/2003, Vol. 159 Issue 1, p31
Trade Publication
Engineers have discovered that the wing of the NASA /Boeing X-37 spaceplane technology testbed was much weaker than expected, and are now prooftesting the reinforced structure. NASA Administrator Scan O' Keefe asked for an independent study of both the agency and Boeing sides of the X-37 program. "The team, Boeing and NASA, found the flaw," said Dan Dumbacher, X-37 project manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The spar had a step change in thickness near the attachment point that caused a stress concentration, which, once properly analyzed, reduced its calculated strength to what may be roughly 0.9 times the design load, which is the maximum expected inflight load.


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