NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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NASA M2-F1 Lifting Body Test. Flight test of NASA's M2-F1, one of a series of experimental space re-entry aircraft known as lifting body designs. The first flight tests of the M2-F1, dubbed the flying bathtub , were at Rogers Dry Lake, at the end of a tow rope attached to a 1963 Pontiac Bonneville convertible. The first attempts were unsuccessful due to control-system problems. However, on 5 April 1963, after tests in a wind tunnel, pilot Milt Thompson made the first M2-F1 tow flight. Lifting body aircraft had short, bulbous or curved fuselages and featured minimal wings or were wingless, features that aided re-entry from space. Despite its success, NASA cancelled the lifting body design in favour of the delta wing during early Space Shuttle development.
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