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McDONNELL DOUGLAS COMPLETES INITIAL HOVER TEST OF THE DELTA CLIPPER-EXPERIMENTAL

 LAS CRUCES, N.M., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonnell Douglas Corp. today announced that it successfully completed an initial hover test of the Delta Clipper-Experimental (DC-X).
 Developed for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) Single Stage Rocket Technology Program, the DC-X is an experimental single stage, vertical-takeoff and landing vehicle.
 The DC-X took off at 4:43 p.m. MDT and vertically hovered at 150 feet. Then the vehicle laterally moved in a straight line 350 feet and descended vertically, touching down on the landing pad. The entire flight sequence lasted 60 seconds.
 After landing and securing of the DC-X, one side of the fiberglass nose cone was scorched, and will have to be replaced with one of several spares prior to the upcoming flight test program.
 Col. Worden, the BMDO deputy for Technology, likened this hover test to "a high speed taxi test of a conventional aircraft."
 Paul Klevatt, McDonnell Douglas DC-X program manager, said, "Today's hover test demonstrates that the DC-X guidance, navigation and control system are ready to support the upcoming flight test program."
 Prior to today's test, the DC-X vehicle and ground support systems underwent an extensive set of propellant loading and 235 seconds of cumulative hot fire tests at NASA's White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) and the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).
 The DC-X tests at WSTF and now WSMR are intended to demonstrate that a rocket-powered reusable launch vehicle can be operated and maintained in a manner similar to aircraft.
 "So far at WSMR, with the vehicle and ground support system in flight configuration, we conducted two major hot fire engine tests and now the hover test, all in a period of 10 days," said Pete Conrad, the McDonnell Douglas Flight manager. He points out that, "With the ground and hover testing we've completed up to this point, we've met over 60 percent of the critical test objectives that the program set out to demonstrate.
 "The ground-based flight crew is now ready to begin flight testing, cautiously at first, then aggressively as we begin pushing the flight envelope," Conrad said.
 The upcoming flight series will follow standard aircraft flight test practices by using a process of gradual flight envelope expansion. The upcoming flight of the DC-X will demonstrate flight controllability and overall system performance including vertical liftoff to an altitude of 600 feet, translation uprange and vertical landing.
 Subsequently, the DC-X will be tested at higher altitude, dynamic pressure and angle-of-attack maneuvers. The flight test program beyond today's initial hover test could begin as early as Aug. 27, weather and range availability permitting.
 -0- 8/18/93
 /CONTACT: Sheila Carter-Hart or Anne C. McCauley of McDonnell Douglas, 714-896-1302, or 714-896-6211/


CO: McDonnell Douglas Corp. ST: New Mexico IN: ARO SU:

MF-LM -- LA023 -- 4132 08/18/93 19:39 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 18, 1993
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