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Feature Story

The NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, with Boeing's Phantom Ray riding on back

NASA photo

The NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, with Boeing's Phantom Ray riding on back, soars over southwestern terrain on its flight Dec. 14, 2010, from St. Louis to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where Phantom Ray will conduct test flights.

Phantom Ray now at Edwards Air Force Base

The NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, transporting Boeing's Phantom Ray, is seen from below from a NASA T-38 chase plane

NASA photo

The NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, transporting Boeing's Phantom Ray, is seen from below from a NASA T-38 chase plane on the flight Dec. 14, 2010, from St. Louis to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Following its 1,800-mile journey from St. Louis to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on the back of one of NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), Boeing’s Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system is now safely in a hangar at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The six-hour flight from St. Louis took Phantom Ray and the SCA through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before the aircraft landed in California.

“After its initial test flight in St. Louis on Dec. 13, NASA and Boeing engineers inspected the two aircraft, and the adapter connecting them, for any damage or defects,” said Craig Brown, Phantom Ray program manager. “Everything was fine so we decided to fly the following day, and by doing so we avoided additional bad weather in St. Louis and are on track for Phantom Ray’s first flight.”

The Phantom Ray team will immediately begin testing Phantom Ray’s systems at Dryden in preparation for high-speed taxi tests and the first flight in early 2011.

To see footage of the landing at Edwards Air Force Base, click on the video below.

Following a six-hour flight that took Phantom Ray and NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft through five states, the aircraft landed in California.