Wingless Flight : The Lifting Body Story (Nasa Sp, 4220)

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9780160493904: Wingless Flight : The Lifting Body Story (Nasa Sp, 4220)

“Wingless Flight” tells the story of the most unusual flying machines ever flown, the lifting bodies. It is a story about friends and colleagues who committed a significant part of their lives in the 1960s and 1970s to prove that the concept was a viable one for use in spacecraft of the future. This story, filled with drama and adventure, is about the twelve-year period from 1963 to 1975 in which eight different lifting-body configurations flew. Benefits from this effort immediately influenced the design and operational concepts of the winged NASA Shuttle Orbiter. However, the full benefits would not be realized until the 1990s when new spacecraft such as the X-33 and X-38 would fully employ the lifting-body concept. A lifting body is basically a wingless vehicle that flies due to the lift generated by the shape of its fuselage. Although both a lifting reentry vehicle and a ballistic capsule had been considered as options during the early stages of NASA's space program, NASA initially opted to go with the capsule. A number of individuals were not content to close the book on the lifting-body concept. Researchers, including Alfred Eggers at the NASA Ames Research Center, conducted early wind-tunnel experiments, finding that half of a rounded nose-cone shape that was flat on top and rounded on the bottom could generate a lift-to-drag ratio of about 1.5 to 1. Eggers' preliminary design sketch later resembled the basic M2 lifting-body design. At the NASA Langley Research Center, other researchers toyed with their own lifting-body shapes. Meanwhile, some aircraft-oriented researchers at the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California were experiencing their own fascination with the lifting-body concept. History, and telling for the first time in print that historic story of the lifting bodies in full and living detail is what this book is all about.

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About the Author:

R. Dale Reed retired from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in 1985 but still works with NASA as a contract engineer. He has authored numerous articles and technical reports, managed nineteen NASA programs, including the flight test of a prototype Mars airplane, and acquired four patents.

Review:

"An excellent study. . . . A particularly rewarding aspect of this book is the clarity of the description of the sequential testing which has made the United States the world leader in space."―Air Power History

"Reed carefully blends technical detail into this in-depth account of the entire NASA/USAF lifting-body program."―Space Times

"Presents an in-depth account of the entire NASA/Air Force lifting-body program written by the engineer who initiated it."―Aviation History

"Provides a human and insightful story of an unusual and very important aerospace technology that has shaped and will continue to shape our future in space."―Technology and Culture

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