These reaction control thrusters demonstrated the ability to further control the vehicle, according to Pete Conrad, McDonnell Douglas' DC-X flight manager.
The DC-X, built by McDonnell Douglas in Huntington Beach, Calif.
The vehicle performed flawlessly after receiving a blast that would probably have demolished any other launch vehicle," said Paul Klevatt, McDonnell Douglas' DC-X program director.
Pete Conrad, McDonnell Douglas' DC-X flight manager, remarked: "I couldn't understand why an `autoland' command was requested, since my flight screen showed a normal launch and flight.
Jess Sponable, Single Stage Rocket Technology program manager for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) stated, "This anomaly resulted in successful demonstrations of several important firsts: executing the autoland sequence demonstrating an `aircraft-like' abort mode; landing on the gypsum, demonstrating the ability to land future SSTO vehicles virtually anywhere; and demonstrating the system's toughness and robustness, since the DC-X continued to fly despite the aeroshell damage.
DC-X is being developed by McDonnell Douglas for the BMDO Single Stage Rocket Technology Program to prove the practicality, reliability, operability and cost efficiency of a reusable, single-stage-to-orbit flight vehicle.
Then flight controls commanded the DC-X to reverse its direction of flight and climb to an altitude of 2,850 feet.
After completion of the planned flight tests series this summer, the DC-X will be turned over to NASA.
The tests will become progressively more complex until the DC-X
reaches its objective of flying to about 16,000 feet, returning nose down to 10,000 feet, then pitching over and landing upright.
18, the DC-X
took off and vertically hovered at 150 feet, moved sideways in a straight line 350 feet and descended vertically, touching down on the landing pad.
Our test objective was to operate all vehicle systems, including all four engines, software, electrical, avionics, mechanical/hydraulic subsystems for a full duration of approximately 60 seconds," said Paul Klevatt, McDonnell Douglas DC-X
Preliminary post-test analyses indicated that the vehicle's system including software, avionics and engines performed to our expectations," said Paul Klevatt, McDonnell Douglas DC-X