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February 23, 2015 - No Wings? No Problem

No Wings? No Problem From 1963 to 1975, NASA’s lifting body program tested concepts for small, lightweight piloted spacecraft that could return from space like a glider, albeit without wings; their unconventionally shaped fuselage provided the lift and maneuverability necessary for gliding flight after a simulated return from space. Lifting bodies were carried aloft by a B-52 and released for either an unpowered or powered flight. The Northrop HL-10, one of heavyweight lifting bodies, flew thirty-seven times between 1966 and 1970. On a powered flight that took place forty-five years ago this week, NASA pilot Bill Dana flew the HL-10 to 27.5 km (17 mi), the highest flight of the lifting body program. Here, the HL-10 lines up with lakebed runway 18 at NASA’s Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

February 23 - March 1, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 23

1987: Supernova 1987a explodes
1990: Pioneer 11 leaves solar system
1997: Flash fire in Mir Kvant module

Moon phase Tuesday 24

Mercury at greatest elongation (27° W)

1968: Discovery of first pulsar announced
1969: Mariner 6 launched
2007Rosetta spacecraft flies by Mars
2011: STS-133 Discovery launched

Moon phase Wednesday 25

First Qtr Moon 12:14 PM ET
Aldebaran 1° south of Moon

Moon phase Thursday 26

Neptune in conjunction with Sun

1842: Camille Flammarion born
1966: First Saturn 1B rocket launched

Moon phase Friday 27

1897: Bernard Lyot born
1970: HL-10 sets lifting body altitude record of 90,300 feet

Moon phase Saturday 28

1959: Discoverer 1 launched
1966: Gemini IX primary crew, Bassett & See, killed in plane crash
1990: STS-36 Atlantis launched
2007: New Horizons spacecraft flies past Jupiter en route to Pluto

Moon phase Sunday 1

1927: George Abell born
1966: Venera 3 impacts on Venus
1982: Venera 13 returns first color photos from the surface of Venus
2002: STS-109 Columbia launched

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