Santa Rosa lands spacecraft, TSTC students to assemble it

SANTA ROSA — NASA’s X-38 spacecraft was supposed to be used to bring astronauts home from outer space. Now, one of them is going to be used to inspire the next generation of space explorers.

NASA gifted the city of Santa Rosa an X-38 space prototype vehicle frame and students at Texas State Technical College are going to reassemble it.

When it is complete, the city plans to place the ship on a 17-acre sports complex and fair grounds currently in the works.

With Mars being the target for the next space frontier, the city and the college students are giving a helping hand to inspire the next generation of rocket scientists and aerospace engineers by displaying a piece of space exploration history for Rio Grande Valley residents to see.

The same formula worked for TSTC Aviation Maintenance student Steven Knox.

He recalls visits to Valley International Airport with his grandmother to see airplanes take off and land as a youngster.

He’s been fascinated with airplanes ever since his grandma took him to see and hear the planes.


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Introducing the X-38 spacecraft

NASA’s X-38 project was a prototype rescue vehicle to provide astronauts on the International Space Station an immediate return trip home in case of an emergency. Shown is one of the assembled X-38 spacecraft. One like it will be showcased at the Santa Rosa park.

X-38 By the Numbers

Length – 30 feet

Width – 14.5 feet

Cabin – 438 cubic feet

Mass – 25,000 pounds

Crew size – 7

Mission duration – Up to 3 years

Launch time – As low as 3 minutes