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HL-10 on lakebed with pilot Major Jerauld R. Gentry HL-10 on lakebed with pilot Major Jerauld R. Gentry

Photo Number: E-18875
Photo Date: May 16, 1968

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3000x2670 JPEG Image (3,294 KBytes)

Photo
Description:
Pilot Major Jerauld R. Gentry stands in front of the HL-10 Lifting Body. Gentry was the Air Force project pilot for the HL-10 while it was making the early glide and powered flights in 1968 following its modification. He made a total of nine flights in the vehicle. For his work on the HL-10, Gentry was awarded the Harmon International Trophy for his outstanding contribution to the science of flying. He later became the Air Force pilot for the X-24A.

Project
Description:
The HL-10 was one of five heavyweight lifting-body designs flown at NASA's Flight Research Center (FRC--later Dryden Flight Research Center), Edwards, California, from July 1966 to November 1975 to study and validate the concept of safely maneuvering and landing a low lift-over-drag vehicle designed for reentry from space.

Northrop Corporation built the HL-10 and M2-F2, the first two of the fleet of "heavy" lifting bodies flown by the NASA Flight Research Center. The contract for construction of the HL-10 and the M2-F2 was $1.8 million. "HL" stands for horizontal landing, and "10" refers to the tenth design studied by engineers at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

After delivery to NASA in January 1966, the HL-10 made its first flight on Dec. 22, 1966, with research pilot Bruce Peterson in the cockpit. Although an XLR-11 rocket engine was installed in the vehicle, the first 11 drop flights from the B-52 launch aircraft were powerless glide flights to assess handling qualities, stability, and control. In the end, the HL-10 was judged to be the best handling of the three original heavy-weight lifting bodies (M2-F2/F3, HL-10, X-24A).

The HL-10 was flown 37 times during the lifting body research program and logged the highest altitude and fastest speed in the Lifting Body program. On Feb. 18, 1970, Air Force test pilot Peter Hoag piloted the HL-10 to Mach 1.86 (1,228 mph). Nine days later, NASA pilot Bill Dana flew the vehicle to 90,030 feet, which became the highest altitude reached in the program.

Some new and different lessons were learned through the successful flight testing of the HL-10. These lessons, when combined with information from it's sister ship, the M2-F2/F3, provided an excellent starting point for designers of future entry vehicles, including the Space Shuttle.


NASA Photo by: NASA photo

Keywords: HL-10; Lifting Body; Major Jerauld R. Gentry; low lift-over-drag; reentry; Northrop; B-52; Langley Research Center


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