Encyclopedia Astronautica
Shuttle MDC-A-1


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,242,630/220,254 kg. Thrust 18,956.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 442 seconds. Delta winged configuration.

Cost $ : 30.000 million. No Engines: 10.

Status: Study 1969.
Gross mass: 1,242,630 kg (2,739,530 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 220,254 kg (485,576 lb).
Height: 59.45 m (195.04 ft).
Diameter: 8.00 m (26.20 ft).
Span: 46.04 m (151.04 ft).
Thrust: 18,956.00 kN (4,261,478 lbf).
Specific impulse: 442 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 392 s.
Burn time: 230 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Shuttle MDC American winged orbital launch vehicle. The McDonnell Douglas Space Shuttle Phase A studies were conducted under contract NAS9-9204. Their baseline Class III vehicle design was completed in November 1969 after 13 alternate configurations had been considered. The two-stage-to-orbit vehicle had a gross mass of 1,550,000 kg and a 11,300 kg payload was accommodated in a 4.6 m x 9.2 m payload bay. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...

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