McDonnell Douglas DC-X "Delta Clipper"
SSTO Prototype (1993)
Production Run: 2007-2010
About the Design
In the early-1990s, McDonnell Douglas successfully test flew a one-third scale, unmanned prototype of what it hoped would be the first-ever reusable single-stage earth-to-orbit spacecraft. Dubbed the DC-X -- and also known as the "Delta Clipper" -- the craft proved that it was feasible to launch and land a rocket-powered craft vertically in the manner of classic Sci-Fi rocket ships. Such a system was expected to save each launch-and-recovery cycle millions of dollars.
Beginning in 1993, the DC-X flew successfully numerous times until a landing leg failed to extend during a 1996 test flight, causing the craft to tip over upon landing, catch fire and explode. (Don't you hate when that happens?) NASA budget tightening forced the project to be abandoned -- although McDonnell Douglas engineers are rumored to be attempting to resurrect the project in the private sector.
About the Kit
What You Get