1963-66: NASA Dryden M2-F1 “Wingless Vehicle”

“The lifting body concept evolved in the late 1950s as researchers considered alternatives to ballistic reentries of piloted space capsules. The designs for hypersonic, wingless vehicles were on the boards at NASA Ames and NASA Langley facilities, while the US Air Force was gearing up for its Dyna-Soar program, which defined the need for a spacecraft that would land like an airplane.”



10 Responses

  1. Phil

    This is the aircraft which the Six Million Dollar Man crashes at the start of the show. The actual pilot survived but lost an eye.

  2. Bill W.

    Funny, just stumbled onto this website. The Six Million Dollar man is Bruce Peterson. He attended my father’s funeral in 2000. That’s my father driving the Pontiac. I drove that car back when my dad had it built for this purpose. Great to see these photos here.

  3. YeahRight

    Enough about the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’…how many realize the Space Shuttle was based off this ‘flying bathtub’? Too bad barry decided to cancel this most impressive NASA program!!!

  4. Matt

    Regarding the Space Shuttle: take a look at the X-20 “Dyna-Soar” Project; the Intercontinental Bomber that wasn’t…!

  5. Avatar of skyrigger

    Just for a little bit of clarification…In the opening credits of “The Six Million Dollar Man” the lifting body aircraft you see separating from the wing of the B-52 when you hear Austin say “We have separation: is actually the HL-10.
    When you hear Col. Austin say “we have a blow-out..” the aircraft you see is the M2-F2 flown by Bruce Peterson during test flight 16 going into “PIO” (Pilot Induced Oscillation).The PIO was caused by Peterson attempting to avoid hitting an observation helicopter that drifted into his flight path combined with a crosswind. His landing gear never fully extened before the M2-F2 landed at Dryden, thus the gear’s colapse and ensuing crash.

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  6. Avatar of skyrigger

    I have always been absolutely fascinated by NASA’s development and testing of the “Lifting Body” design. So very few people realize that this program led to the Space Shuttle design. Pilots like Chuck Yeager and Bruce Peterson were amazing men with huge brass ba***!

    I was lucky enough a few years ago to score 2 desk models made by Northrop for NASA. One is of the M2-F2 and the other is of the HL-10. My old man was a career Navy officer and hooked me up with an AF friend of his that was part of the Lifting Body Program. The man was gracious enough and generous beyond belief by gifting me the two desk models he had been given back then as well as a bunch of very cool PR Documents that NASA gave out at a press conference regarding the program.

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