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US Hypersonic lifting bodies - 1956-1966

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Winston

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US Hypersonic lifting bodies - 1956-1966



US Lifting Bodies Studies - START (ASSET/PRIME), FDL, X-24, etc.


A resin model of one of them (OOP):

The FDL-6C SOMV (Sub Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle) is one of several designs to come out of the AFFDL (Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio during the 1960’s. The FDL series of shapes were developed to explore the hypersonic regime at high mach numbers for orbital re-entry and sub-orbital Boost Glide vehicles. The FDL-6 shape was one of the shapes explored by the Lockheed Corporation.

It is rumored that, in the 1970s, the shape was explored again and the vehicle was sized to 33 feet long to fit in the cargo bay of the US Space Shuttle. This would allow it to be launched from orbit for a return flight to the United States. Whether this actually ever happened or not is unknown. The vehicle was to have an all metal TPS (Thermal Protection System) consisting of overlapping Columbium (Niobium) and Hastelloy “shingles” as opposed to the more fragile ceramic tiles seen on the US Space Shuttle. It would likely have needed some kind of active cooling for the leading edges and nose similar to that designed for the McDonnell FDL-7.






 

Mugs914

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Back in '98 or so I built a boost glider based on the FDL-5 shape. The shape is modified a bit to work better as a (highly) subsonic glider and it actually performs really well when trimmed properly (which is a bit tricky). It has a fast, flat glide, and turns in nice long flights after boost.

It is successful enough to warrant an upscale RC version, which I started a while ago and have recently pulled off of the back burner. Still deciding on whether the booster will be three or four inches in diameter, probably a 38mm mount. (Needs to be low enough to see!)

Here are a few of pics of the original. The boosters are permanent and do not drop off, but they do have 13mm mounts angled through the stack CG. So far it has only flown with the core motor (C6-3 is perfect), but one of these days it'll go with three motors.

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125cc

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Interesting thread. Always found the X-20 project fascinating and wondered if such a design would in fact become reality in the coming years, what with all the research being done by the US, Russian and Chinese militaries.

Mugs914, love the glider/booster there. 👍
 

Mugs914

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Thanks 125!

Here is a report that was published in 1968 regarding high L/D hypersonic lifting bodies. It revolves largely around the FDL-5 shape. It wasn't declassified until the end of 1986...
 

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mbeels

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Back in '98 or so I built a boost glider based on the FDL-5 shape. The shape is modified a bit to work better as a (highly) subsonic glider and it actually performs really well when trimmed properly (which is a bit tricky). It has a fast, flat glide, and turns in nice long flights after boost.
I love it!
 

shockie

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Back in '98 or so I built a boost glider based on the FDL-5 shape. The shape is modified a bit to work better as a (highly) subsonic glider and it actually performs really well when trimmed properly (which is a bit tricky). It has a fast, flat glide, and turns in nice long flights after boost.

It is successful enough to warrant an upscale RC version, which I started a while ago and have recently pulled off of the back burner. Still deciding on whether the booster will be three or four inches in diameter, probably a 38mm mount. (Needs to be low enough to see!)

Here are a few of pics of the original. The boosters are permanent and do not drop off, but they do have 13mm mounts angled through the stack CG. So far it has only flown with the core motor (C6-3 is perfect), but one of these days it'll go with three motors.

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This deserves a kit......
 

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