X-20 by Warren McCallister



This is a Boeing artist’s impression of how the Dyna Soar manned space glider will look when it re-enters the earth’s atmosphere after a flight into space. Leading edges of the craft will glow from the heat created by the friction of the vehicle passing into the atmosphere. Dyna Soar will be boosted into space by a modified Titan intercontinental ballistic missile. After being separated from its booster, the glider will be left in a piloted, near orbital flight. Its pilot later could glide to a conventional landing at an Air Force base. The Boeing Company, under supervision of the Air Force, is prime contractor for the system and the glider. The Martin Company is prime contractor for the Titan booster.

— Boeing Airplane Company Photo


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X-20 Dyno-Soar at Astronautix

Image credit: Boeing

Image source: Numbers Station

X-20 Three-View

Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar abandoned by the US Air Force in 1963 before flight trials could begin. Although ultimately intended for launching by Titan 3C, this one-man vehicle followed principles established by the Austrian engineer Dr Eugen Stänger a quarter of a century before. The project played an important part in developing aerodynamic and structural techniques for new-generation space-craft capable of maneuvering after re-entry from orbit. Length 35 ft (10.7m.) wingspan 20 ft (6.09m.); height (with wire-brush landing skis retracted) 8 ft (2.4m.).

From Frontiers of Space by Philip Bono & Kenneth Gatland (1969)

X-20 Dyno-Soar at Astronautix

Image credit: USAF

Image source: Numbers Station

Mars Operational Phase

It’s January 1972.

Having safely glided to a stop on a Martian plateau, this illustration depicts the Operational Phase of the mission. The crew have already inflated their six meter habitat (it’s a tent), assembled the flat-pack steamroller and are shown removing the nuclear reactor so it can be dragged at least a kilometer from base camp so it won’t kill them.

With the reactor at a safe distance, the crew of eight have 479 days to explore the surface of Mars and maybe do a spot of gardening.

You can read more about this fascinating 1960 Boeing Study here.

Boeing Mars Glider at Astronautix

Philip Bono at Astronautix

Image credit: Boeing / Chicago Daily News

Image source: Numbers Station


STCAEM MEV at Astronautix

Image credit: Boeing

Image source: NASA MSFC