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MCDONNELL DOUGLAS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES TOTAL SYSTEM TEST FOR DC-X FIRST FLIGHT

 LAS CRUCES, N.M., June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonnell Douglas today announced that its Delta Clipper Team has successfully conducted a full duration total system test, including main engine firing, that thoroughly simulated its first flight profile.
 Developed for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization Single Stage Rocket Technology program, the Delta Clipper-Experimental (DC-X) vehicle is undergoing a testing program designed to demonstrate the feasibility of building and operating single-stage-to-orbit rockets.
 Preliminary post-test results indicate that all systems functioned as planned and the DC-X vehicle is in excellent condition, ready for the next test.
 "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 program manager.
 "The engines were controlled and automatically adjusted by the DC- X's software to simulate all phases of the takeoff, hover, translational flight and landing tests that will be conducted at the "Clipper Site" at the White Sands Space Harbor," said Klevatt.
 The firing profile began with a standard 3.5-second engine check at low thrust, followed immediately by an increase to the thrust required to fly the vehicle to its planned flight altitude.
 The DC-X on-board computer next decreased the thrust to levels necessary to maintain altitude and to translate the DC-X to the landing site area. At this point, engines were commanded by the DC-X to throttle down to the thrust levels needed for descent and landing.
 Total firing time was 62.28 seconds. During the test, engine thrust levels were commanded over a range of 30 percent to 80 percent. In addition, the engines were gimbaled as required to perform the hover flight.
 Prior to Friday's test, the McDonnell Douglas Delta Clipper Team had conducted seven all-system, hot fire static tests -- one on May 20, two on May 27, and one on May 26, May 28, June 3, and June 8. These tests ranged in duration from 3.5 seconds to 28.5 seconds, and thrust levels varied from 30 percent to 65 percent. The purpose of these tests was to fine-tune engine and vehicle operating parameters and software.
 Between each test, the system is maintained and serviced according to aircraft-like processes and procedures to verify rapid "turnaround" capability.
 "Each firing was part of a carefully considered, aggressive test series to prepare the vehicle for flight. We're very pleased with the vehicle's operability and supportability as well as the ease with which we can turn it around between tests," said Pete Conrad, DC-X flight manager.
 "We're realizing the benefits that come from designing the system to be totally reusable, and operate in an aircraft-like environment," he said.
 Following the static ground tests, the vehicle will be moved to the White Sands Missile Range, N.M., for actual flight tests.
 -0- 6/15/93
 /CONTACT: Sheila Carter-Hart or Evelyn Smith of McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, 714-896-1302, or 714-896-1700/


CO: McDonnell Douglas Aerospace ST: New Mexico IN: ARO SU:

BP-JB -- LA033 -- 2394 06/15/93 18:14 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 15, 1993
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