The DC-X/XA was a highly focused operations demonstration
program in which the majority of our key personnel participated.
The DC-X/XA proved the ability to achieve aircraft-like
operations for a vertical take-off/vertical landing (VTVL)
reusable launch vehicle. It had 12 successful flights between
1993 and 1996 and was initiated by the Ballistic Missile
Defense Organization. The program continued under NASA-MSFC
guidance as DC-XA in 1995. In only 24 months, this highly
complex technology demonstration program went from contract
award to first flight. The flight mechanics system, software,
and mission development system were developed in only 14
months by a team of 12 people, enabling the vehicle to successfully
perform extremely complex maneuvers. The DC-X/XA program
resulted in a reduction in mission development and verification
labor-hours of 80% relative to the same functions performed
for the Delta launch vehicle.
The USL LLC team contributed to the development and operation
of the DC-X/XA flight control software including vehicle
modeling and simulation, stability and control design and
verification, pre-flight mission planning and post-flight
analysis. The USL LLC team pioneered the flight software
rapid prototyping and validation process that resulted in
flight critical software being delivered on time and on
budget. A key USL LLC team member was the DC-X/XA chief
avionics design engineer responsible for system design &
integration, equipment procurement, integration & test
and flight test program support/anomaly resolution. Furthermore,
a control system validation tool capable of analyzing a
new flight test profile in two hours was developed by a
member of the USL LLC team.
to download a QuickTime movie of one of the successful flights.
to access a summary web page created by NASA to document
the successful DC-X/XA program.