Lunex Lifting Body Reentry


Dreams To Reality
2 March 2008
Reaction score
Any info on the USAF LUNEX lifting body reentry technique? Was it related to "negative lifting body for orbital capture"? Modern day engineers seem to have forgotten accomplishments of past generations. Seems we can't think out side the "capsule box" these days? What superb flexible design Lunex was. The lifting body would have been an excellent LEO transfer vehicle as well (dual role).


  • lunex2d.jpg
    76.3 KB · Views: 180
  • Lunex Cutaway.jpg
    Lunex Cutaway.jpg
    45.6 KB · Views: 181
airrocket said:
Modern day engineers seem to have forgotten accomplishments of past generations. Seems we can't think out side the "capsule box" these days?
That's unfortunately very much a political concern, not an engineering one. Legacy Apollo technology is seen by TPTB as a safe bet, and the additional capability of a lifting re-entry is difficult to explain without that nasty thing called math.
more on LUNEX

i found this in LUNEX.PDF

the 1961 USAF Lunex report
Present deslgn studies have estimated the total re-entry vehicle weight at 20,205 pounds.
a. Body 7500 pounds
(1) Structure 3500
(2) Heat Shield 4000
b. Wing Group 2000
(1) Structure 800
(2) Heat Shield 1200

Present re-entry and recovery techniques are outgrovths of the ballistic missile program utilising ballistic re-entry and parachute recovery.
They are not compatible vlth the velocities associated with re-entry from the moon, vlth controlled
landing, or vith manned operation.
Present engineering data associated vith high speed re-entry is not adequate for vehicle design.
A development-test program is required to obtain generalized data on re-entry phenomena and to test scale models.
of selected vehicle configurations so that final selection and design of an optimum vehicle can be made. Concurrently with this test program the projects within the applied research program will be directed so as to carry out the following investigations to provide necessary data for the Lunex Re-entry Vehicle Design.

with simpel words:
they had no idea wat to use ::)
Great pdf....the old guys knew how to do it. That technique may have came after Lunex. I've herd a technique was studied, those who developed it have passed on now. And seem to have have taken it to the grave with them....
USAF made unmanned X-23A (under PRIME program) test in 1966

The structure was completely covered with a Martin-developed ablative heat shield 20 to 70 mm (¾ to 2¾ inches) thick, though the nose cap was constructed of carbon-phenolic.
from Wiki

i think, if LUNEX had go ahead, they had taken the lifting body configuration SV-5D (X-23) with carbon-phenolic heat shield.
but that only my opinion

Similar threads

Top Bottom