Voices from New Mexico's Space History
Different quotations from New Mexico space pioneers appear on this page monthly. This is the May 2020 installment.
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Between 1993 and 1996, test flights of an experimental, reusable, single stage to orbit rocket were conducted at White Sands Missile Range. The following excerpt from "Eyewitness to Flight---DC-X" was published in the Summer 1994 issue of The Journal of Practical Applications in Space." In it, a reporter describes the fifth test flight of the first version, the DC-X1.

The actual DC-X test site is three miles from the control trailers [and the viewing stands]. The theory is that even in the worst possible case, pieces won't fly that far, and the practice is that nobody but nobody gets closer than that when the bird [rocket] is flying, not even the pad crew, who spend tests watching form alongside the cars and service trucks lined up by the road, ready to race down to the pad the moment DC-X lands. This isn't like to Good Old Days, when they'd fly V-2s with gaggles of spectators within shouting distance of the launch stand. But then, they had some close calls in the olds days' now they prefer to err on the side of caution....

Right around 8:30 [a.m.], a few people really perked up as we heard "five.. four.. three.. two.. mark!" over the PA, but it was only the control trailer synchronizing clocks with the range....

At T minus three [seconds], the engines were started; there was what looked from that distance like the usual burst of flame from vented pre-cool hydrogen burning off. The first hint of anything unusual was a series of rapid pops over the PA. I really didn't think about it, though; I had a rocket to track, and sure enough, a couple of seconds later there it was in the [camcorder] view finder, a gray blob rising out of the launch smoke. It was at about that point that I started hearing people in the crowd saying something about pieces falling off.

Come back next month to find out what happened!



See previously featured quotes on the following pages:

      Voices Archives
for the current year
        2019 Voices Archives
        2018 Voices Archives
        [2017 Voices Archives were lost in a computer crash]
        2016 Voices Archives
        2015 Voices Archives
        2014 Voices Archives
        2013 Voices Archives
        2012 Voices Archives
        2011 Voices Archives


Photo Credits
Robert Goddard towing one of his rockets to the launch site near Roswell about 1931, courtesy of NASA.

WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America runway dedication flyover, photo by Loretta Hall.


Unless otherwise credited, all material on this site is
© Loretta Hall 2010-2020.

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For more information about New Mexico's contributions to space exploration, visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History.
Between 1993 and 1996, test flights of an experimental, reusable, single stage to orbit rocket were conducted at White Sands Missile Range. The following excerpt from "Eyewitness to Flight---DC-X" was published in the Summer 1994 issue of The Journal of Practical Applications in Space." In it, a reporter describes the fifth test flight of the first version, the DC-X1.

The actual DC-X test site is three miles from the control trailers [and the viewing stands]. The theory is that even in the worst possible case, pieces won't fly that far, and the practice is that nobody but nobody gets closer than that when the bird [rocket] is flying, not even the pad crew, who spend tests watching form alongside the cars and service trucks lined up by the road, ready to race down to the pad the moment DC-X lands. This isn't like to Good Old Days, when they'd fly V-2s with gaggles of spectators within shouting distance of the launch stand. But then, they had some close calls in the olds days' now they prefer to err on the side of caution....

Right around 8:30 [a.m.], a few people really perked up as we heard "five.. four.. three.. two.. mark!" over the PA, but it was only the control trailer synchronizing clocks with the range....

At T minus three [seconds], the engines were started; there was what looked from that distance like the usual burst of flame from vented pre-cool hydrogen burning off. The first hint of anything unusual was a series of rapid pops over the PA. I really didn't think about it, though; I had a rocket to track, and sure enough, a couple of seconds later there it was in the [camcorder] view finder, a gray blob rising out of the launch smoke. It was at about that point that I started hearing people in the crowd saying something about pieces falling off.

Come back next month to find out what happened!



See previously featured quotes on the following pages:
Voices Archives for the current year
2019 Voices Archives
2018 Voices Archives
[Voices Archives from 2017 were lost in a computer crash]
2016 Voices Archives
2015 Voices Archives
2014 Voices Archives
2013 Voices Archives
2012 Voices Archives
2011 Voices Archives


Photo Credits
Robert Goddard towing one of his rockets to the launch site near Roswell about 1931, courtesy of NASA.

WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America runway dedication flyover, photo by Loretta Hall.


Unless otherwise credited, all material on this site is © Loretta Hall 2010-2019.

Voices from New Mexico's Space History
Different quotations from New Mexico space pioneers appear on this page monthly. This is the May 2020 installment.