Manned Return (B&W Plates)

Boeing Mars Glider at Astronautix

Philip Bono at Astronautix

Image credit: Boeing

Image source: SDASM Commons

Mach 2 Dawn

Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket at Wikipedia

Image credit: NASA

Image source: Numbers Station

X-15 Hypersonic Final

North American X-15 at Astronautics

Image credit: NASA

Image source: NASA Image & Video Library

Soaring Into Space

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.

Dynasoar at Astronautix

Image credit: Boeing

Image source: Numbers Station

X-20 Press Photos

(BA2-Sept.22) SPACE GLIDER–Air Force developers of the proposed Dyna-Soar space glider project released this artist’s conception of the manned glider separating from it’s Titan intercontinental ballistic missile booster, as planned in experimental test flights beginning within three years. The sketch was released in connection with a speech by Lt. Gen. R.C. Wilson Air Force deputy chief of staff for development, before the annual convention of the Air Force Association at San Francisco. (U.S. Air Force PHOTO VIA APWIREPHOTO) (was5141Oho) 60

Dynasoar at Astronautix

Image credit: Boeing

Image source: Numbers Station