McDonnell Douglas Model 256 Phase B Shuttle Booster

Funny how top view looks like someone took the shape of a Rutan Varieze and got all the proportions wrong... ::)
The problem with these is always the huge changes in the center of gravity. First it burns the first stage propellants, then releases the upper stage... the CG has moved hugely to the rear with the front part being just empty tankage, while the rear houses a lot of rocket engines - hence the wings must be moved to the rear.

The front canard seems to house the jet engines to balance it a tiny bit?
Seems almost superfluous to say, 'Gosh, that is a Brute !!'

Sorry, I can't make sense of the blue-print: Would the canard's jets be hydrogen burning, or is there some JP-X which may be pumped between trim-tanks ??

I get the feeling that the final flare-out on approach may be scary...

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