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DC-X Delta Clipper

Orionblamblam

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Loon said:
I think they would have had problems trying to achieve .92 mass ratio.
Very likely that there would ahve been *serious* problems. A pity that NASA doesn't take a more pragmatic approach:
1: Revive the X-33 competitors.
2: Fund *each* of them to develop an orbital SSTO demonstrator, to the tune of, say, $150 million each.
3: Stipulate that they *must* build a flying demonstrators to get the $150 million. More important than attaining the mass ratio, though, is feasibility, practicality, operability. If they fall short of SSTO, so be it.
4: When the demonstrators have flown suborbitally... have a second competition to build re-usable booster stages.
5: Put the not-quite-SSTO X-33's atop the boosters. Now you can go to orbit.

If one or more of the X-33's makes it to orbit with a payload, great! But if you put a booster under it or next to it, the payload will be substantially increased. So one vehicle could operate in two modes.
 

quellish

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Anybody know the disposition of the DC-X hardware?
 

Loon

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Not much left

The #2 landing leg never deployed, so after another good flight and safe touchdown, the vehicle fell over, forward tank explodes, big fire and several more booms. Not much was salvageable. Theres a video of the landing and fire.
 

Matej

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quellish said:
Anybody know the disposition of the DC-X hardware?
It is funny that someone can say, that the Russians are responsible for this :) But to be fair, this connection is only one of the various factors and fails that led to the disaster.
 

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Archibald

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Remains of the DC-X were located (as of August 2008) at the New Mexico museum of space history. Source: Jeff Foust, The Space Review > http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1196/1
 

PMN1

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Orionblamblam said:
4: When the demonstrators have flown suborbitally... have a second competition to build re-usable booster stages.
5: Put the not-quite-SSTO X-33's atop the boosters. Now you can go to orbit.
The Space Island Group people suggested that, combining a Delta Clipper with a shuttle stack less the orbiter.
 

DACguy

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Just wanted to tack on a quote from a friend of mine regarding the question of the DC-X achieving it's ultimate goals.

His name is Jeff, he was one of the 40+ engineers working on the DC-X program, and when I asked him about this issue he replied "All they needed to do was tell us how much they wanted to lift and how high it needed to go and we could have built a vehicle to do it".

None of you know Jeff but he is the sort of engineer that when he says that he (and his group) can do something, I believe him.

Canceling the DC-X program was probably (in my opinion) equivalent to canceling the DC-1 aircraft, it postponed the (relatively) cheap access to NEO that might have opened the doors to the profitable (and thus attractive to private companies) industrialization of space.


Missed it by "that" much...
 

Stargazer2006

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DACguy said:
Canceling the DC-X program was probably (in my opinion) equivalent to canceling the DC-1 aircraft
Maybe... Fortunately, the DC-1 was a pure civilian project with no risk of being "canceled" by anyone in the process... The problem with DC-X being a DoD program is that it relied on the taxpayer's money, and was therefore more liable to be given the boot. Reversely, the SpaceShip programs from Scaled Composites went all the way because they relied solely on private money.
 

DACguy

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True, relying on government money is problematic but they are the only ones willing to pay the costs for developing the technology, in much the same way that U.S. government subsidies paid to keep air transportation companies afloat until such time as aviation technology could build a transport that was profitable such as the DC-1.

The government (NASA or DARPA) will once again have to pay for the initial cost of development and then let the private sector take over. I don't really expect this to happen mind you, just saying that this is probably how it will have to go if we want cost effective access to LEO. The trick is to get the government to pay that cost, as you point out.

Unfortunately the SpaceShip program is not going to orbit. Maybe some day it will evolve into an orbital transport system.
 

flateric

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Stargazer2006 said:
I believe this 1992 document on the DC-X program was only recently released:
http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/657336main_06.06.12_CCP_CCDev2_508.pdf
1992 ??!!
 

Stargazer2006

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Sorry! Wrong link. :-[

Here's the correct one:
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a252707.pdf
 

Triton

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McDonnell Douglas Delta Clipper brochure found on ebay.

Source:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Off-McDonnell-Douglas-Spacecraft-color-Brochure-Delta-Clipper-DC-X-SSRT-93-/350653084692?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51a48d7414
 

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Mark Nankivil

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Thanks for the lead - we have a model of the developed version in our Museum collection. I've put a bid in on both items and will post to the group should I obtain them.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

Mark Nankivil

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Thanks for the lead - I did "win" them. Will post scans soon.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

Stargazer2006

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Congratulations Mark! Now thanks to you this material will land in a place where it will be taken good care of.
 

Mark Nankivil

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Greetings All -

A recent EPay buy of two McDonnell Douglas Aerospace SSTO/Delta Clipper items for your perusal.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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Abraham Gubler

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Thanks a huge ammount for scanning and posting this stuff.
 

Mark Nankivil

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Thanks Triton for finding it - bought it.

Stay tuned for scans.... Mark
 

fightingirish

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The DC-X program was an unmanned prototype of a reusable single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. The one-third-scale DC-X was never designed to achieve orbital altitudes or velocity. Instead, it was meant to demonstrate various flight concepts, such as vertical takeoff and landing and responsive operations.
Source and more pictures at Boeing Images.
Link: http://www.boeingimages.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=2JRSN2PX4X4X&SMLS=1&RW=1920&RH=993
 

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Stargazer2006

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Darn, Boeing even makes money on images from formerly competing companies!
 

sferrin

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I would laugh if Uncle Sugar sent Boeing a bill for the money they've been making off of government property.
 

quellish

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It's being restored for display:
http://www.nmspacemuseum.org/content.php?id=313


There are some more detailed articles out there, but I was unable to locate them in a quick search.
 

Stargazer2006

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Cool news. This was definitely a landmark aerospace program of the early 1990s.
 

fightingirish

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USAF Version/Project of the TGV Michelle-B Reusable Suborbital Sound Rocket shown at a DC-X Gathering in 2008.
In a historic gathering, the former members of the Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-X) reusable rocket team met to remember the famous project and to plan for future rocket projects.
Later on these DC-X items were donated to or are on loan at that space museum in Ohio.
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacemansam/sets/72157606854287262/

Lucky Irish, this time it just took me a few minutes to find it on Flickr, ahh, Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all! :)
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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Thank you, Irish! When I snapped those pics I was on a deadline. Were getting ready to leave the museum when I had just remembered about the DC-X. I actually left the truck running as I got out, ran, and did a hit-and-run photo shoot. So I was in a bit of a hurry.
 

Triton

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DC-XA to the X-33 Delta Clipper McDonnell Douglas Phantom Works brochure

DC-XA to the X-33 Delta Clipper McDonnell Douglas Phantom Works brochure found on eBay.

Source:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-XA-to-the-X-33-Delta-Clipper-McDonnell-Douglas-Phantom-Works-brochure-RARE-/221940584365?hash=item33acb08fad:g:etAAAOSwjVVVpwTM
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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Seems like Masten has a soft spot for Delta Clipper-style designs. Wonder if they got some of the former McDD guys on their design team.

http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=31218
 

Moose

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Wouldn't surprise me, a couple were a SpaceX for awhile from what I understand.
 

High Keas

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A fact that is rarely mentioned: The DC-X/Delta Clipper had an emergency parachute recovery system. It function was to recover the vehicle in case control was lost at high altitude. It was not designed to work at low altitudes. The parachute system was installed in the nose cone.
 

fightingirish

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Here a video by the artist Hazegrayart, which is showing the Delta Clipper during early tests.
I like the transition from real footage to CGI and back. :cool:
View: https://youtu.be/HMxcrTFO4Lc

Code:
https://youtu.be/HMxcrTFO4Lc
 
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