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November 23, 2020 - Wingless Flight

Wingless Flight  Between 1963 and 1975, NASA and the U.S. Air Force tested a new breed of oddly shaped research vehicles that paved the way for the space shuttle. Unlike conventional aircraft, which generate aerodynamic lift from their wings, these wingless craft generated lift solely from the shape of their bodies, and were thus known as lifting bodies. The lifting bodies proved that spacecraft could reenter the atmosphere and glide to a landing. Forty-five years ago this week, the final lifting body vehicle, the X-24B (above), made its last flight—an unpowered glide from 13,700 meters (45,000 ft) after being released from a B-52 carrier ship. In earlier powered flights, using its XLR-11 rocket engine, the X-24B reached a top speed of 1,873 km/h (1,164 mph), and an altitude of 22,594 m (74,130 ft).

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

November 23 - 29, 2020

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 23

Neptune 5° north of Moon

1977: Meteosat 1 launched
1983: 149-day Salyut 7 mission ends
2002: STS-113 Endeavour launched
2014Soyuz TMA-15M launched carrying ISS Expedition 42/43 crew
2015: New Shepard makes first powered vertical landing of rocket booster from space

Moon phase Tuesday 24

1947: First Aerobee rocket launch
: STS-44 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Wednesday 25

Mars 5° north of Moon

1970: First powered flight of M2-F3 lifting body

Moon phase Thursday 26

Thanksgiving Day

Moon at apogee

1965: France becomes third nation to launch a satellite
1975: Final X-24B lifting body flight
1985: STS-61B Atlantis launched
1989: Kvant 2 module launched
2011: Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity launched
2018: InSight spacecraft lands on Mars

Moon phase Friday 27

Uranus 3° north of Moon

1885: First photo of a meteor shower
: Mars 2 probe becomes first artificial object to hit Mars
1997: Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission launched

Moon phase Saturday 28

1964: Mariner 4 launched
1983: STS-9 Columbia launched
2017: Voyager 1 fired backup thruster for first time in 37 years

Moon phase Sunday 29

Neptune stationary

1967: First Australian satellite launched

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