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Photos: NASA's DC-X Rocket for Vertical Space Launches & Landings

Delta Clipper-Experimental (DC-X)

NASA

This is the McDornell Douglas CD-XA Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) concept. The Delta Clipper-Experimental (DC-X) was originally developed by McDonnell Douglas for the DOD. Image released January 1, 1995.

DC-X Takeoff and Landing

New Mexico Museum of Space History

This photo montage shows how NASA's DC-X reusable rocket prototype launched and landed vertically during trials in 1993.

New Mexico Museum of Space History

Logo of the DC-X First Flight 20th Anniversary. An event will be held in New Mexico August 16-20, 2013, to commemorate the flight.

DC-XA Reusable Launch Vehicle

NASA

Pictured here is a DC-XA Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) prototype concept with an RLV logo. The Delta Clipper-Experimental (DC-X) was originally developed by McDornell Douglas for the Department of Defense (DOD). Image dated January 23, 1995.

20th Anniversary of the DC-X First Flight

New Mexico Museum of Space History

The New Mexico Museum of Space History and Spaceport America will host an event marking the 20th anniversary of the first flight of the Delta Clipper-Experimental spacecraft in August 2013.

Delta Clipper-Experimental Logo Patch

New Mexico Museum of Space History

A Delta Clipper-Experimental logo patch announces that it is "Pratt & Whitney Powered."

First Test Flight of the Delta Clipper-Experimental Advanced (DC-XA)

NASA

This photograph shows the descending DC-XA vehicle landing during the first successful test flight at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The program was discontinued in 2003.

Delta Clipper-Experimental Vehicle

NASA

The Air Force's Phillips Laboratory conducted test flights using the McDonnell Douglas Delta Clipper-Experimental (DC-X) launch vehicle. The DC-X was designed as a simplified demonstration vehicle to test concepts that would be necessary for a cost-effective reusable launch vehicle. In FY 1995, the Air Force transferred the DC-X to NASA to be upgraded for additional flight tests in 1996 as the DC-XA (Delta Clipper-Experimental Advanced).

DC-X WIth Engines Flaming

New Mexico Museum of Space History

The DC-X resusable spacecraft is seen with engines flaming.

SpaceX Grasshopper Lateral Test Flight

SpaceX

Two decades after NASA's DC-X vertical landing rocket tests, several private companies are experimenting with the technology. Here, SpaceX's reusable Grasshopper rocket flies sideways during a 100-meter (328-foot) lateral test flight on Aug. 13, 2013 in this still from a video recorded at SpaceX's McGregor, Tex., proving grounds.

New Shepard

Blue Origin

Two decades after NASA's DC-X vertical landing rocket tests, several private companies are experimenting with the technology. Here, the New Shepard capsule built by Blue Origin performs a test flight.

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