It’s been 20 years since the remarkable DC-X Delta Clipper Single-Stage-To-Orbit (SSTO) test vehicle made its first flight. Many people still believe DC-X should have been the chosen vehicle for NASA’s X-33 RLV program but that Lockheed Martin’s VentureStar won only because of direct, and political, intervention by Vice President Al Gore, who proudly made the X-33 winner announcement. VentureStar was a concept which had never flown even a sub-scale prototype; it was supposed to use not-yet-invented composite LH2 and LO2 tanks and a not-ever-built, not-yet-proven or not-ever-flown linear aerospike engine. It’s design was ahead of technology and perhaps the ability to create the technology at the time, and it failed. It was, however, an awesomely cool concept as was DC-X.
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