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NASA studied this McDonnell Douglas/Martin Marietta concept for a fully reusable space transportation system during the Shuttle research effort in 1969-1972. This two-stage system featured two piloted fly-back vehicles, a booster and an orbiter, both using liquid propellant. The booster would carry the orbiter to a set altitude, then detach to return to base. After separation, the orbiter's engines would ignite for final ascent into orbit. This concept had a second configuration for heavy payloads (such as large space station components) that did not need an astronaut crew; the booster, augmented by six solid rocket boosters, would launch a large disposable cargo carrier. NASA transferred a variety of concept models to the Museum after settling on the final Space Shuttle design.

Display Status

This object is on display in James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

James S. McDonnell Space Hangar
Object Details
Country of Origin United States of America Type MODELS-Crewed Spacecraft & Parts Manufacturer Martin Marietta
McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co.
Dimensions Overall (orbiter and winged booster): 7in. x 1ft 4in. x 1ft 12in. (17.78 x 40.64 x 60.96cm)
Overall (booster rocket): 1ft 7in. x 3in. (48.26 x 7.62cm)
Materials Plastic models with wooden bases
Inventory Number A19760777000 Credit Line Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Data Source National Air and Space Museum Restrictions & Rights Usage conditions apply
For more information, visit the Smithsonians Terms of Use.