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US Lifting Bodies Studies - START (ASSET/PRIME), FDL, X-24, etc.

Archibald

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The lifting body program was one of the highlight of the NASA in the 60's. Various machines flew (HL-10, X-24, M2F series)
This program only consisted of atmospheric tests...well, that's the "offcial" version
But there's two mysteries
- 1 Aparently, modified HL-10 were send into suborbital flight, but unmanned (around 1971) More precisions about these flights?
- 2 There was a follow on to the X-24A/B, a kind of 70's Aurora ;D
The X-24C. Any detail about that?
 

overscan

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Martin X-24C desktop model from beautiful Chad Slattery site http://home.earthlink.net/~chadslattery/
© 2008 Chad Slattery
 

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overscan

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X-24C model undergoes basic aerodynamic testing and evaluation in Arnold Engineering Development Center's 16-foot transonic propulsion wind tunnel in 1974.
http://www.arnold.af.mil/aedc/systems/74-1551.htm
 

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elmayerle

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I know Martin did some studies of lifting bodies, to be launched by Titan III LVs, in the 1960s and they were of similar configuration to the HL-10. As a matter of fact, I understand this factual background provided a lot of the background for the rescue lifting body vehicle seen in the film version of Marooned, which in turn inspired the ASTP and eventually common docking lugs on all manned US and Russian spacecraft.
 

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There are numerous references on the net (Global Security.org, Above Top Secret, Wikipedia etc.) saying how the X-24B and even X-24C were based on the shape of the FDL-8 (Flight Dynamics Laboratory-8). I've had a bad picture of the FDL-5 for ages but finding images of the the rest of the series is proving tough. It was supposed to be a top secret military programme in the sixties between the X-15 and the X-24. I know there was a -6 but that's all, and a commercial space plane called 'Silver Dart' is apparently being built based on the -7 but what about -1 through -4? Any pictures or information on any of them would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers, Woody
 

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kitnut617

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There's reference to the X-24's in David Myhra's book (Schiffer) about the Ta.183. It says the the X-24A/B were the design of Hans Multhopp (Focke Wolf's Chief Designer during the war) when he worked at Martin and after he had designed the XB-51. There's a photo of him holding a wind tunnel model of the X-24B IIRC. The photo of the fellow in the picture above looks like an older version of him.
 

flateric

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Extracts from NASA paper
NASACR14S2Z
CONFIGURATION DEVELOPMENT STUDY OF THE X-24C HYPERSONIC RESEARCH AIRPLANE /EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
H.G. Combs, ,et al, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Advanced Development Projects, October 1977
I don't remember where I got this pdf, AFAIR it's readily aviable at NTRS server.

BTW, numerous rumors exist in communities far more serious than AboveTopSecret forum members that X-24C actually was built and flown
 

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Woody

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That's fantastic Greg. Do you know more accurately which is which and whether any of them actually flew? I was always disappointed by how slow the HL-10 and X-24s were compared to the X-15, did any of this lot do any better?
Cheers, Woody
 

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flateric

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Woody, I said 'rumors'.

Rumors are say that Lockheed had a crewed vehicle with an air-breathing propulsion that went somewhere to Mach 6 to 8 in mid-1970s...
The engine was built by Marquardt.

Interestingly that such an aircraft was mentioned in Preface of first edition of "Lockheed Aircraft" by Rene Francillon (I can't check it up as I have second edition) ....this mention was taken out completely in the 2nd edition...

Rene Francillon declined to comment the removal being asked several times back in the mid-1990s. Usually very friendly and helpful correspondent, he didn't want to talk about it.
 

Archibald

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flateric said:
Woody, I said 'rumors'.

Rumors are say that Lockheed had a crewed vehicle with an air-breathing propulsion that went somewhere to Mach 6 to 8 in mid-1970s...
The engine was built by Marquardt.
Maybe the engine could be this fabulous "supercharged ejector ramjet" proposed in June 1969 (on a modified
X-15)
Comme par hasard, a subscale model of the RJ-176 engine had been tested successfully in the late 60's...
 

elmayerle

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I can't help but wonder how a X-24C compares in size and mass to a D-21. If they're reasonably close, I could see a modified M-21 or NASA's "YF-12C" serving as a launch vehicle for a higher starting point.
 

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I don't think its the good idea. Two manned planes at so high speed.... And also remember how one M-21/D-21 ended.

X-24C internal view from AWST Sept. 17, 1973, pg. 85
 

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Archibald

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I really think that a mach 4 -mach 5.5 , ramjet powered vehicle was feasible with late 70's technology.
- The X-15s structure resisted to 200 flights up to mach near mach 7
- high-speed ramjets had been mastered since the early 60's (the ONERA Stataltex had pushed their speeds up to mach 5.5)
- turboramjets and their derivatives (such as the SERJ mentioned above) worked quite well...
- Convair was able to proposed a mach 4.2 vehicle in the late 50's (even a compromised design), and its research kept on all along the 60's...

They had more or less all the elements needed to build such a machine... but its speed would have been limited to mach 6 at best, as scramjets were (are,) still in the limbos today...

X-24C or Aurora!!!
 

hesham

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Hi,

The McDonnell Douglas Model-176 was hypersonic spacecraft,but when
I search about it I found a Models of hypersonic aircraft not known,
see the picture,
 

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Firefly 2

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The bottom two picks I remember from my Aurora book, just a sec.
 

Firefly 2

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hesham said:
Hi,

The McDonnell Douglas Model-176 was hypersonic spacecraft,but when
I search about it I found a Models to hypersonic aircraft not known,
see the picture,
From Bill Sweetman- Aurora: the Pentagon's secret hypersonic spyplane

Second pick: described as being the Lockheed FDL 5 fitted with conformal collar tanks. To be airlaunched by B52. This was to be a hypersonic research aircraft.

Third pick shows all the shaped considered in the FDL hypersonic study.
 

Dew

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Bottom pic left to right, top row: (1) FDL-8, (2) WADD II, FDL-6, unknown, (10) FDL-6, ( 8 ) MDF-1, (7) HLD-5, (5) X-20, (6) unknown
middle row: FDL-5A, FDL-8, (9) PRIME/SV-5, (4) FDL-7
bottom centre: (3) ASSET

Identified by Stephane Cochin of Stratosphere Models.

There's some info about the FDL-5 MA here...

http://www.ninfinger.org/~sven/models/stratosphere/fdl5_announce.html
 

Trident

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http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?&verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=AD0390193
 

zhuravlik

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Lovely plane, i'd like to do an R/C model of that.
Surely would require a pitch gyro.
Meanwhile look at this beautiful scratchbuilt model:
http://hyperscale.com/features/x24cpb_1.htm
by"Bondo" Phil brandt.
I love those lifting bodies...

Best regards

Zhuravlik
 

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"Bondo" Phil does some great work. Several years ago his scratch built 1/72 scale Boeing XB-55 could be seen at the annual ScaleFest events here in the DFW area.
 

flateric

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Hesham provided a hint for finding this:

http://www.americanantigravity.com/articles/589/1/Model-176-Hypersonic-Shuttle/Page1.html
http://www.americanantigravity.com/documents/Aerospace-Design-Notes.pdf
http://www.americanantigravity.com/documents/Hypersonic-SpacePlanes-History.pdf
http://www.americanantigravity.com/documents/Paul-Czysz-Hypersonic-Interview.pdf

Historical Notes & Technical Data

This document provides detailed notes outlining the McDonnell Aircraft Company's "Model 176" hypesonic glider, and describes how this technology could be used to produce a hypersonic glider for use in resupplying a Manned Orbiting Laboratory in the 1960's. It is a more rugged concept than the Space Shuttle, and could have begun flying over a decade earlier. Furthermore, and most importantly, this document describes heat-dissipation testing that would have completely eliminated the need for the ceramic tiles used on today's shuttle.

"The United States Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory fabricated a half-scale mock-up of the stage and one-half Model 176 configuration. Strap-on tanks provided propellants to about Mach 6 or 7 and then the mission continued on internal propellants. The intent was to provide the United States Air Force with an on-demand hypersonic aircraft that could reach any part of the earth in less than a half-hour and return to its launch base or any base within the Continental United States (CONUS).

In a 1964 brief, Rollie Quest of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, St. Louis, presented a fully reusable hypersonic glider, the so-called model 176, intended to be the crew delivery, crew return, crew rescue, and re-supply vehicle for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) crew. One vehicle was to be docked with the MOL at all times as an escape and rescue vehicle. It could accommodate up to 13 persons, and like BURAN all components were recoverable.

Given the space infrastructure of the 21st Century, it is important to recall that rescue and supply of the manned space facilities requires the ability to land in a major ground based facility at any time from any orbit and orbital location. The cross and down range needed to return to a base of choice also requires high aerodynamic performance, mainly dependent on high lift over drag ratios." - Prof. Paul Czysz

Paul Czysz is the former Chief Scientist for the National Aerospace Place (NASP) project, and now the CEO of his hypersonic research company, Hypertech Concepts, LLC.

"In a 1964 brief, Roland Quest of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, St. Louis, presented a fully reusable hypersonic glider, the so-called model 176, intended to be the crew delivery, crew return, crew rescue, and re-supply vehicle for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) crew (see discussion of its requirements in Chapter 1). One vehicle was to be docked with the MOL at all times as an escape and rescue vehicle. It could accommodate up to 13 persons, and like BURAN all components were recoverable. Given the space infrastructure of the 21st Century, it is important to recall that rescue and supply of the manned space facilities requires the ability to land in a major ground based facility at any time from any orbit and orbital location. The cross and down range needed to return to a base of choice also requires high aerodynamic performance, mainly dependent on high lift over drag ratios. Although the airbreathing propulsion concepts that are limited to Mach 6 or less, an excellent inward turning, retractable inlet [DuPont, 1999] can be integrated into the vehicle configuration derived from the FDL series of hypersonic gliders and developed by the Flight Dynamics Laboratory [Zima, 1985] and from the work of the McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company. Collaboration in hypersonic work between the McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company and the McDonnell Aircraft Company, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, and also between the USAF Flight Dynamic Laboratory and McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company provided the impetus and the hardware technology basis to make the space and atmospheric vehicle developments converge to a common set of characteristics.
The Model 176 began with the collaboration of Robert Masek of McDonnell Douglas and Alfred Draper of AFFDL in the late 1950’s on hypersonic control issues. After a series of experimental and flight tests with different configurations the “X” tail configuration and the FDL-7C/D glider configurations emerged as the configuration that was inherently stable over the Mach range and had earth circumferential glide range. The result was the FDL-7MC and then the McDonnell Douglas Model 176. Figure 3-14 compares the two configurations. In the early 1960’s both configurations had windshield for the pilots to see outside. However with today’s automatic flight capability visual requirements can be met with remote viewing systems. The modified FDL-7 C/D configuration was reshaped to have flat panel surfaces, and the windshield provisions were deleted, but it retains all of the essential FDL-7 characteristics. To assure the lift-to-drag ratio for the circumferential range glide, the Model 176 planform was reshaped for a parabolic nose to increase the lift and decrease the nose drag. A spatular nose would have also provided the necessary aerodynamic margin, but the original configuration was retained, with just the windshield provisions deleted. The Model 176 was proposed for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) described in Chapter 1. It was a thoroughly designed and tested configuration with a complete all metal thermal protection system that had the same weight of ceramic tile and carbon-carbon concepts used for the US Shuttle, but was sturdier."
 

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starviking

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Looks interesting, but a few inaccuracies lead me to wonder if things have been 'Jazzed Up'.

flateric said:
In a 1964 brief, Rollie Quest of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, St. Louis, presented a fully reusable hypersonic glider, the so-called model 176, intended to be the crew delivery, crew return, crew rescue, and re-supply vehicle for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) crew. One vehicle was to be docked with the MOL at all times as an escape and rescue vehicle. It could accommodate up to 13 persons, and like BURAN all components were recoverable.
McDonnell Douglass was formed by a merger in 1967.

Buran was not fully recoverable. The main tank with the primary engines was emphatically not recoverable, the boosters might possibly been recoverable. I think they had parachute clusters attached for that purpose, but whether that capability was actually tested I don't know.

The Model 176 as shown is also not fully recoverable. The evolved version still has to drop its tanks.

The ship doesn't seem to be too far removed from the McDD ILRV designs, as posted on Marcus Lindroos' Hallowed Site http://www.abo.fi/~mlindroo/SpaceLVs/Slides/sld018.htm
See attached pic.
 

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flateric

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starviking said:
Looks interesting, but a few inaccuracies lead me to wonder if things have been 'Jazzed Up'.
McDonnell Douglass was formed by a merger in 1967.
Yes, looks strange for McDonnell veteran...may be breach in memories or typo...

starviking said:
Buran was not fully recoverable. The main tank with the primary engines was emphatically not recoverable, the boosters might possibly been recoverable. I think they had parachute clusters attached for that purpose, but whether that capability was actually tested I don't know.
Formally, Buran itself was recoverable, talking about Energia-Buran system, Block A (first stage) save was implemented from the beginning - note that huge bulbs on top and bottom of every block to hold landing gear. It was never tested operationally - Energia just didn't arrive to this step of flight tests. I have very interesting computer animation of how it would look like. Regarding Block C - it would become reusable in future development of Energia - GK-175 and Uragan, getting Buran wing. Parachute recovery of Block C as shown on Czysz's drawing, was considered at the early stages, but winged design was choosen. http://www.buran.ru/htm/41-3.htm
 

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starviking

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flateric said:
starviking said:
Looks interesting, but a few inaccuracies lead me to wonder if things have been 'Jazzed Up'.
McDonnell Douglass was formed by a merger in 1967.
Yes, looks strange for McDonnell veteran...may be breach in memories or typo...

starviking said:
Buran was not fully recoverable. The main tank with the primary engines was emphatically not recoverable, the boosters might possibly been recoverable. I think they had parachute clusters attached for that purpose, but whether that capability was actually tested I don't know.
Formally, Buran itself was recoverable, talking about Energia-Buran system, Block A (first stage) save was implemented from the beginning - note that huge bulbs on top and bottom of every block to hold landing gear. It was never tested operationally - Energia just didn't arrive to this step of flight tests. I have very interesting computer animation of how it would look like. Regarding Block C - it would become reusable in future development of Energia - GK-175 and Uragan, getting Buran wing. Parachute recovery of Block C as shown on Czysz's drawing, was considered at the early stages, but winged design was choosen. http://www.buran.ru/htm/41-3.htm
Ah, you're right. I guess the way he used English in his article, i.e. "Buran...fully recoverable" mislead me. After all, why shouldn't a winged orbiter be fully recoverable. Do we refer to 747's as fully rcoverable aeroplanes? ;)

Interesting winged concept for the Energia core there.

Starviking
 

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Lockheed X-24C desktop model from beautiful Chad Slattery site http://home.earthlink.net/~chadslattery/
© 2008 Chad Slattery
 

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Michel Van

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I don't remember where I got this pdf, AFAIR it's readily aviable at NTRS server.
there are very good PDF about X-24C study

19790008668_1979008668.pdf
"CONFIGURATION DEVELOPMENT STUDY OF THE X-24C HYPERSONIC RESEARCH AIRPLANE- PHASE II"

19790007769_1979007769.pdf
"CONFIGURATION DEVELOPMENT STUDY OF THE X-24C HYPERSONIC RESEARCH EXECUTIVE SUMMARY"

and HL-10 Program
"FULL-SCALE WIND-TUNNEL INVESTIGATION OF THE HL-10 MANNED LIFTING BODY FLIGHT VEHICLE"
19710070745_1971070745.pdf

source
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp
 

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flateric said:
Interestingly that such an aircraft was mentioned in Preface of first edition of "Lockheed Aircraft" by Rene Francillon (I can't check it up as I have second edition) ....this mention was taken out completely in the 2nd edition...

Rene Francillon declined to comment the removal being asked several times back in the mid-1990s. Usually very friendly and helpful correspondent, he didn't want to talk about it.
well, if the first edition was published in 1982, its available on half.com for a paltry sum and may shed some light on your quest...

http://product.half.ebay.com/Lockheed-Aircraft-Since-1913_W0QQprZ4648431QQitemZ340464578391QQtgZvidetails
 

hesham

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Hi,

I think it was early Martin X-24C concept.
http://www.flightglobal.com/PDFArchive/View/1963/1963%20-%201715.html
 

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flateric

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I sure it was not.
 

flateric

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Identifying: one of zillion Martin lifting-body orbiter projects from 1963.
 
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