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August 13, 2018 - Lifting Body Gets a Lift

Lifting Body Gets a Lift  The wingless lifting body design was conceived as a means of landing an aircraft horizontally after atmospheric reentry. The lack of wings would make the heat of reentry less damaging, and the needed lift was provided by the body shape. NASA’s lightweight, unpowered lifting body prototype—the M2-F1—looked like a “flying bathtub” and featured a plywood shell placed over a tubular steel frame. After initial ground-tow flights of the M2-F1 using a souped-up Pontiac as a tow vehicle, the way was clear to make air-tows behind a C-47. The first air-tow took place 55 years ago this week, with Milt Thompson at the controls. This flight lasted less than two minutes from tow-line release to touchdown, with the M2-F1 descending at a rather brisk rate of 1,200 meters per minute (4,000 fpm).

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

August 13 - 19, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 13

Perseid meteor shower

Moon phase Tuesday 14

Venus 6° south of Moon

Moon phase Wednesday 15

Moon phase Thursday 16

1963: M2-F1 lifting body makes first glide flight after being towed aloft by a C-47

Moon phase Friday 17

Jupiter 5° south of Moon
Venus at greatest elongation (46° E)

1966: Pioneer 7 launched
1970: Venera 7 launched
2006: Voyager 1 is 100 AU from Earth

Moon phase Saturday 18

First Qtr Moon 3:49 AM ET
Mercury appears stationary

1868: Total solar eclipse leads to discovery of helium
1877: Asaph Hall discovers Phobos
1960: Discoverer XIV launched, first successful US photo reconnaissance satellite
1993: First DC-X flight
1999: Cassini spacecraft flies by Earth

Moon phase Sunday 19

1646: John Flamsteed born
1891: Milton Humason born
1982: Soyuz T-7 launched, Svetlana Savitskaya is second woman in space

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.