Encyclopedia Astronautica
DC-XA


American VTOVL test vehicle. After a hard landing in the last flight of this series, the vehicle was rebuilt to the DC-XA configuration. The DC-XA flew from May 1996 until destroyed when it tipped over while landing on its fourth flight on 31 July 1996.

Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1996-07-31. Last Fail Date: 1996-07-31.

Gross mass: 19,000 kg (41,000 lb).
Height: 12.60 m (41.30 ft).
Diameter: 4.95 m (16.24 ft).
Thrust: 242.00 kN (54,403 lbf).
Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).
First Launch: 1996.05.18.
Last Launch: 1996.07.31.
Number: 4 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • DC-X The Space Defense Initiative Office's Single Stage Rocket Technology program of 1990-1995 demonstrated technology readiness for an SSTO vehicle. Despite successful test flights of the DC-X technology demonstrator, no development funding was forthcoming, and designs for prototype and production rockets remained on the drawing boards. More...
  • VTOVL The concept of a reusable single-stage-to-orbit Vertical Take-Off Vertical Landing (VTOVL) launch vehicle that would reenter and return to its launch site for turnaround and relaunch was first proposed by Philip Bono in the 1960's. The appealing simplicity of the concept has been offset by the technological risk in developing it. The problem with any single-stage-to-orbit concept is that if the empty weight of the final vehicle has been underestimated it will not be able to deliver any payload to orbit, or even reach orbit. Since weight growth of up to 20% is not unknown in aerospace projects, this is a very real threat which has made both NASA and private investors reluctant to invest the billions of dollars it would take to develop a full-scale flight vehicle. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • White Sands White Sands Missile Range occupies an area 160 x 65 km in the Tularosa Basin of southern New Mexico, across the Sacramento Mountain range from Roswell. In the 1930's, Robert Goddard, after surveying weather conditions and population densities, had selected Roswell for his pioneering rocket tests. White Sands, a true desert area, was even more unpopulated than Roswell. German advances in rocketry during World War II impelled the US Army to begin programs to exploit this technology. The White Sands Proving Ground was established for testing German and American long-range rockets on 9 July 1945. Seven days later the first atomic bomb was exploded at Trinity Site, near the north boundary of the range. The first launch of a Tiny Tim rocket was on 26 September 1945. On 11 October a Tiny Tim boosted a WAC Corporal rocket from the tower. This was the first use of Launch Complex 33, later to be used for V-2, Nike, Viking, Corporal, Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket System testing. More...

Associated Stages
  • DC-X Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 16,320/7,200 kg. Thrust 262.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 373 seconds. More...

DC-XA Chronology


1996 May 18 - . 14:20 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: DC-X. Launch Vehicle: DC-XA.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). Summary: First flight of the DC-XA; aeroshell caught fire during slow landing. Reached altitude of 244 m during a 62 second flight..

1996 June 7 - . 16:15 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: DC-X. Launch Vehicle: DC-XA.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). Summary: Maximum structural stresses with 50% full LOX tank. Reached altitude of 590 m during a 64 second flight..

1996 June 8 - . 18:17 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: DC-X. Launch Vehicle: DC-XA.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville. Apogee: 3.00 km (1.80 mi). Summary: 26-hour rapid turnaround demostration; new altitude and duration record. Reached altitude of 3140 m during a 142 second flight..

1996 July 31 - . 19:15 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: DC-X. Launch Vehicle: DC-XA. FAILURE: Landing strut 2 failed to extend; vehicle tipped over and LOX tank exploded; vehicle destroyed..
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi). Summary: Reached altitude of 1250 m during a 140 second flight..

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