PRELIMINARY PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Andrew J. Butrica
1 July 1997
Revised 7 December 1997,
16 February 1998, October 28, 1998
January 4, 2000, September 1, 2000,
April 11, 2001, and February 25, 2003
The X-33 History Project was established to create an archive, a set of oral history interviews,
a website, a monograph, and a history book appropriate for the NASA History Series,
in addition to historical fact sheets, an annual chronology of key events, oral presentations,
and articles published in popular and technical journals. Please keep in mind that
the following is subject to change. In fact, the History Project ceased to function
as of March 2001, at NASA's request.
The archive will become a permanent record of the X-33 program, and will serve
as the basis for preparing X-33 history publications. At the end of the History Project,
it will become a part of the NASA History Office archives, although the documents
likely will be stored physically at the National Archives (Suitland, MD). At present,
there are no plans to make the X-33 archive available to researchers or the public
until after the archive is turned over to the NASA History Office. The archive will
be turned over to the NASA History Office in May 2001.
A total of 80 to 100 oral history interviews were scheduled to be conducted for
the X-33 History Project. To date, several dozen interviews were conducted.
All interviews will be transcribed, and the transcripts and tapes will be stored
at the NASA History Office.
You are there!
Originally, one of the first major publications of the X-33 History Project was
to be a monograph of under 100 pages on some aspect of the development of the X-33.
The monograph would be limited in scope, appropriately illustrated, and accompanied
by original documents in an appendix. When completed, the monograph would have been
made available from NASA, as well as the X-33 History Project, through this home
Instead of the monograph, however, the Historian, with the agreement of NASA,
lengthened the draft monograph into a book-length manuscript. The book deals with
the history of the DC-X, built by McDonnell Douglas for the Strategic Defense Initiative
Organization's Single Stage to Orbit (SSTO) Program. It traces the search for reusable
and single-stage-to-orbit launchers from early concepts to the creation of the SSTO
Program to the transformation of the DC-X into the DC-XA as a NASA program, the first
X vehicle in the space agency's new RLV Program.
The book manuscript is now in a draft form and is undergoing review by various
individuals, most of whom were involved in the history of the DC-X and DC-XA.
The current plan is to see the manuscript published by the Johns Hopkins University
Press in November 2003.
A formal history of the X-33 Project would have been prepared as a NASA Special
Publication in the NASA History Series. The project history would have been written for
an educated informed popular audience and will meet the scholarly and editorial standards
set for all volumes in the NASA History Series. It was to have been published at
the end of the X-33 History Project, that is, in March 2002. Initial drafting of
an outline of the history book has begun. Because of NASA's decision to terminate
the X-33 History Project, the formal history will not be written.
Oral presentations on the history of the X-33 will be made to technical and nontechnical
groups. A list of them, and copies of some of the papers, are available on this site
The annual chronologies capture the key events in the development of the
X-33, and they are available on this web site HERE.
Articles written for both popular and academic audiences will be published periodically.
Notices of their publication will appear on this homepage. These articles will treat
issues arising from the development of the X-33, such as government-industry relations
and the commercial launch industry and the use of cooperative agreements to induce
industrial investment and participation in the development and testing of space technologies.