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Martin Marietta X-24A

Martin Marietta X-24A

Martin Marietta X-24A


The Martin Marietta X-24A was a project sponsored by the USAF Flight Development Laboratory (FDL).

The X-24A program was run alongside the NASA HL-10 project. Both aircraft were developed to test the principle of lifting body aircraft, and help produce a manned re-entry vehicle. The lessons learnt from the aircraft, and subsequent programs, were used to help develop the Space Shuttle.

During its flight trials at the Edwards Air Force Base in California, the X-24A was carried aboard a B-52B mothership up to altitude. Once released the X-24A pilot would fire the aircraft's rocket motor for 2.5 minutes and climb up to 70,000 ft (21,336 meters), reaching a top speed of 1,036 mph (Mach 1.6) along the way. The X-24A would then glide back to the ground unpowered.

The Martin Marietta X-24A was flown a total of 28 times by three different pilots (Jerauld R. Gentry, John A. Manke and Cecil W. Powell) from 1969 to 1971. In 1972 the X-24A was comprehensively redesigned and renamed the X-24B.


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Northrop HL-10





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