NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
HL-10 aircraft . Northrop HL-10 lifting body aircraft landing, with a red F5D-1 Skylancer escort. The HL-10 was one of a series of experimental space re-entry aircraft known as lifting body designs. Lifting body aircraft had short, bulbous or curved fuselages and featured minimal wings or were wingless. The design increased the aerodynamic capabilities of the aircraft when travelling at speed and the absence of wings meant less heat damage during space re-entry. The HL-10 was dropped from a B-52 plane to test flight manoeuvrability, and made 37 flights from 1966 to 1970. Despite its success, NASA cancelled the lifting body design in favour of the delta wing during early Space Shuttle development.
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