LASRE was a small, half-span model of the X-33's lifting body with
eight thrust cells of an aerospike engine , rotated 90 degrees and
mounted on the back of an
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
The aircraft completed seven research flights. Two initial flights were used to determine the aerodynamic characteristics of the LASRE apparatus on the back of the aircraft. The first of those occurred 31 October 1997. The SR-71 took off at 8:31 a.m. (Pacific Standard Time -PST). The aircraft flew for 1:50 hour, reaching Mach 1.2 and an altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 m), landing at Edwards AFB. The result validated the SR-71/pod configuration.
Five later flights focused on the experiment; two were used to cycle gaseous helium and liquid nitrogen through the experiment to check its plumbing system for leaks and to check engine operation characteristics. The first of these flights occurred 4 March 1998. The SR-71 took off at 10:16 a.m. PST. The aircraft flew for 1:57 hour, reaching Mach 1.58 before landing at Edwards AFB.
During three more flights in the spring and summer of 1998, liquid oxygen was cycled through the engine. In addition, two engine hot firings were conducted on the ground. Researchers decided against a hot-fire flight test because of liquid oxygen leaks in the test apparatus. The ground firings and the airborne cryogenic gas flow tests provided enough information to predict the hot-gas effects of an aerospike engine firing during flight.
* 1 LASRE Hardware * 2 Hardware and Aircraft * 3 References * 4 External links * 5 Image gallery
The experiment itself was a small, half-span model of a lifting body shape. The model contained eight thrust cells of an aerospike engine and was mounted on a housing known as the "canoe," which contained the gaseous hydrogen , helium , and instrumentation gear.
The model, engine, and canoe together were called the "pod." The entire pod was 41