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
News Bureau Boeing Airplane Company Seattle 24, Washington
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)
In addition to Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, the U.S. is working on two other manned aerospace programs. The first is using the X-15, a piloted research vehicle, which flies as high as 50 miles above the Earth and at about 4,000 miles an hour, It is powered by a rocket engine but has wings and a tail, and can be controlled like an airplane. While the X-15 does not actually operate in space, vehicles similar to it will.
The other program is based on Project Dyna Soar. Dyna Soar will be launched like a missile, orbit the earth as a controlled satellite, and return through the atmosphere like an airplane. It is so named because it is expected that in the sky it will achieve boost-glide flight – also known as dynamic soaring. In space, the Dyna Soar pilot will be able to use rocket power to maneuver left or right thousands of miles in any flight path.
In the artist’s concept of the craft, the pilot of the Dyna Soar discards the no-longer need cockpit heat shield in order to land.