Jul 292013

A NASA painting of a 1969-vintage Space Shuttle concept. This was known as the “DC-3” configuration, and was designed – or at least heavily pushed – by Maxime Faget, and was adopted by several McDonnell-Douglas designs. It featured two manned and reusable rocket powered stages, both burning hydrogen & oxygen, both with straight wings. The smaller orbiter would basically “belly flop” into the atmosphere when re-entering. The straight wings would not provide a whole lot of lift, but they would also not be very massive. Thus the vehicles were relatively lightweight, but with restricted crossrange. Both stages also had turbofan engines mounted in the nose for cruise and landing assist.

 Posted by at 1:30 pm
  • Anonymous

    And then the USAF wanted a one-orbit abort back to Vandenberg.

    • Chris Jones

      Not an abort, but a pre-planned mission (e.g. a snatch and grab of an enemy satellite or a quick servicing of a friendly one).

      And despite bending the design to accommodate this requirement, neither a launch from Vandenberg or a one orbit mission was ever flown…

      • Anonymous

        Doesn’t matter, as the whole thing became the Apollo Full Employment Program anyways, just like today’s Senate Launch System.

      • Herp McDerp

        Yeah, and the military also did a lot with that crossrange capability that they insisted upon, didn’t they?

  • JEC

    So where are the air intakes for the jet engines (I assume those “gills” behind the cockpits are the exhausts) .

    • Anonymous

      The nose cap itself would pop off after re-entry and reveal a common inlet. I imagine the jettison rocket used for that would be fairly impressive so that the cap wouldn;t go bumping down the side of the fuselage…

      • Cthell

        I’m sorry, were they employing Jerry Anderson as a design consultant? o.o

        • Anonymous

          Thunderbirds are GO!!.

          And it’s Gerry Anderson.

          • Cthell

            indeed it is; i have no excuse for not checking before posting.

            better go and watch some thunderbirds as penance…