McDonnell Douglas DC-X Delta Clipper (1993)
SSTO Technology Testbed
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
Released in mid-2007, this kit from Fantastic Plastic Models featured four posable body flaps that could be built raised to expose a detailed engine bay. The kit could also be built with landing legs extended or retracted. Decals were provided to build either the "A" or "B" vehicle versions.
This model was built from an original issue.