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DC-X / DC-XA

DC-XA [NASA]

The McDonnell Douglas DC-X was conceived to demonstate the capability to land a reusable rocket by a vertical, rocket controlled descent and to operate it like a aircraft with minimal maintenance required. It was LOX / LH2 fueled, using four gimballed RL10A5 engines as propulsion.

In the initial configuration it made eight flights, with the fifth flight showing the abort capability without losing the vehicle.

After eight flights it was rebuilt into the improved DC-XA configuration to increase the flight envelope. On the fourth flight in this configuration the DC-XA was lost due to one landing leg failing to extend. The vehicle lost balance on touch down and exploded. A larger version was proposed for the X-33 program, but lost to the Lockheed design.

Version Stage 1
DC-X DC-X / 4 × RL10A5
DC-XA (Clipper Graham) DC-XA / 4 × RL10A5
No:       Type:             Date          LS    Payload

 1    1   DC-X              18.08.1993 *  WS    R&D
 2    2   DC-X              11.09.1993 *  WS    R&D
 3    3   DC-X              30.09.1993 *  WS    R&D
 4    4   DC-X              20.06.1994 *  WS    R&D
 5    5   DC-X              27.06.1994 *A WS    R&D
 6    6   DC-X              16.05.1995 *  WS    R&D
 7    7   DC-X              12.06.1995 *  WS    R&D
 8    8   DC-X              07.07.1995 *  WS    R&D
 9    1   DC-XA             19.05.1996 *  WS    R&D
10    2   DC-XA             07.06.1996 *  WS    R&D
11    3   DC-XA             09.06.1996 *  WS    R&D
12    4   DC-XA             31.07.1996 *F WS    R&D


Launch sites:

WS  = White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA USA


*	Suborbital