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 LAS CRUCES, N.M., Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonnell Douglas successfully completed the first formal test flight of the Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-X) at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) here.
 Developed by McDonnell Douglas 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 11:12 a.m. MDT and vertically hovered at 300 feet. The vehicle then moved laterally in a straight line 350 feet and descended vertically, touching down on the landing pad. The flight sequence lasted 66 seconds.
 Commenting on the flight, Paul Klevatt, McDonnell Douglas DC-X program manager, said, "Today's successful test means we have taken a major step forward. All test objectives were met or exceeded. We're extremely pleased with the performance of the vehicle."
 U.S. Air Force Col. Simon Worden, the BMDO deputy for technology, said, "The data received from the test today will allow us to continue the flight series, following standard aircraft flight test practices.
 "Our intent is to begin aggressively expanding the flight envelope to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. As with any experimental vehicle on the leading edge of technology, the risk of losing the DC-X vehicle will grow substantially as we push the limits of the flight envelope."
 Prior to today's test, the DC-X successfully completed an initial hover test to demonstrate the vehicle's guidance, navigation and control systems were ready to support an expanded flight test program.
 According to U.S. Air Force Major Jess Sponable, BMDO program manager, "With the ground and hover testing completed to date, we've met more than 85 percent of the critical test objectives the program set out to demonstrate."
 The DC-X tests at WSMR are designed to demonstrate that a rocket- powered reusable launch vehicle can be operated and maintained in a manner similar to an aircraft.
 The program now will continue with a series of sub-orbital flights that will continue to verify vertical takeoff and landing; demonstrate subsonic maneuverability; validate "airplane-like" supportability and maintainability, and demonstrate the rapid prototyping development approach.
 The McDonnell Douglas team comprises an international group of aerospace companies: Douglas Aircraft Co., Long Beach, Calif.; McDonnell Douglas Aerospace-East and McDonnell Douglas Research Laboratories, St. Louis, Mo.; Aerojet Propulsion Division, Sacramento, Calif.; Allied Signal Aerospace Co., Torrance, Calif.; Chicago Bridge and Iron Services, Inc., Oak Brook, Ill.; Deutsche Aerospace, Munich, Germany; General Connector, San Fernando, Calif.; Harris Corp., Rockledge, Fla.; Honeywell, Clearwater, Fla.; Integrated Systems, Santa Clara, Calif.; Martin Marietta, Denver, Colo.; Pratt & Whitney Government Engines and Space Division, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Process Fabrication, Inc., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.; Scaled Composites, Mojave, Calif.; and SpaceGuild, San Carlos, Calif.
 NOTE TO EDITORS: Gerry Johnston, president and chief operating officer of McDonnell Douglas, yesterday delivered the following remarks at a briefing on the Delta Clipper. In it, he discusses the importance of the program to our nation's space exploration efforts -- and to McDonnell Douglas.
 Let me begin by saying, "Why not?"
 The late Robert Kennedy had a favorite line from George Bernard Shaw. It became a staple in his campaign speeches in 1968. As Kennedy said, "Some men see things as they are, and say, `Why?'; I dream things that never were, and say, `Why not?'
 Ladies and gentlemen, the Delta Clipper is a great example of a team of dedicated scientists and engineers dreaming the impossible dream, and then saying, "Why not?" The impossible dream in this case is the idea that space

travel will one day become as routine as crossing the oceans in an MD-11 jet. The Delta Clipper Experimental is a giant step forward in the development of vehicles which will provide efficient, low-cost access to space.
 From the Kitty Hawk to the first man on the moon, every great advance in aerospace has confounded experts who said it couldn't be done. Scientists, engineers and physicists have said it is impossible to design and build a true rocket that is able to do many of the things that conventional aircraft do. For instance, you can't build a rocket -- fired by rocket engines -- that will hover like a helicopter, that is capable of lateral flight, and that is able to extend its own landing gears and make a vertical landing. But, as you have already seen on videotape, our rocket does all of those supposedly impossible things. Tomorrow, with the first public flight of the Delta Clipper, you will see it happen with your own eyes.
 We are embarked on an exciting adventure here at White Sands, N.M. The implications of what we are doing are truly monumental. Tomorrow's event is a strong indication that practical, routine travel in space -- while not yet here -- is truly within our reach. We are capable of achieving that historic goal.
 The event also tells us that we haven't run out of miracles in our business -- not by a long shot. McDonnell Douglas is a pioneering company -- in a young industry.
 The fountain of youth for our industry is new technology -- and our ability to put new technologies to work both in improving existing products and -- from time to time -- in turning the impossible dreams into practical realities.
 The Delta Clipper symbolizes some important truths about McDonnell Douglas.
 First, we are in the business of integrating advanced technologies from many fields to satisfy customer needs. The Delta Clipper combines a great number of advances in technologies related to engines, materials, avionics -- and commercial airline support practices permitting rapid on-the-ground turnaround times. The Delta Clipper satisfies the customer's need for a vehicle that opens the way to reliable, high-frequency, low-cost access to space.
 Second, we can move fast in turning a brand-new concept into a working product. To get to where we are today in this program from a clean sheet of a paper -- or perhaps I should say a blank computer screen -- has taken just 22 months. We have been able to set an extremely fast pace in this program through the use of concurrent engineering and rapid prototyping. We are using the same methods and techniques to excellent advantage at our "Phantom Works," the McDonnell Douglas R & D facilities in St. Louis.
 And third, we are today deeply committed to and involved in the future in many, many categories -- space vehicles, attack helicopters, missiles, Vertical or Short Take-off and Landing aircraft, attack fighters, and advanced commercial aircraft, including planned supersonic commercial aircraft. We continue to maintain one of the highest levels of R & D investment in the industry. In the clock that measures time in a high-tech business, the future is always now.
 The remarkable quickly becomes the routine in an era of rapid technological progress. You have come from all over the world to witness the first public flight of an experimental rocket that holds promise for reducing the cost of access to space vis a vis conventional rockets by a hundred-fold or more -- and speeding the turnaround times on the ground vis a vis the shuttle by a thousand-fold.
 Perhaps when we celebrate the 25th anniversary of this event, you will return here on an American Airlines Delta Clipper -- coming from an interview that you had earlier that same morning in Tokyo.
 The skeptics may think that's impossible. After seeing the Delta Clipper in action tomorrow, you will be able to say to them, "Why not?"
 -0- 9/11/93
 /CONTACT: Evelyn Smith, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, 714-896-1700/

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

JL-MF -- LA001 -- 1022 09/11/93 15:39 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 11, 1993

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