Did you know that wingless airplanes were already designed by NASA?

It's hard to imagine a wingless plane flying, right? Well, this has already happened like the Northrop HL-10 model created by NASA in 1966. Models designed in the 1960s were known by the informal nickname "flying bathtubs" thanks to their peculiar shape and total absence of wings. These aircraft were designed for specific tests that evaluated variations in safety, landing, takeoff and the influence of aerodynamics on the shape of the device.

The goal of the Northrop HL-10 project was to improve aerospace design studies, which could allow for safer and less costly entry into the atmosphere. Due to the "flying bath" models, the space shuttle was conceived as it was possible to remove unnecessary design elements from the design based on previous tests.

Image Source: Reproduction / Gump World

Studies of the wingless airplane and its similar models took nearly ten years and brought significant results to NASA scientists, such as deeper understanding of aerodynamics at supersonic speeds (above the speed of sound). With the Northrop HL-10, it was noted that the differential pressure flow at the top and bottom of the nozzle end develops a lift that significantly increases the maneuverability of the aircraft during orbit descent - essential for the intended flight types. .

The main challenge for scientists was for a long time to come up with a method to keep space aircraft materials from melting when they got faster into the atmosphere, slowing down over time. After extensive research, the model of the Northrop HL-10 was created to aid in the tests that later led to the creation of the space shuttle.

Image Source: Reproduction / Gump World

However, the Northrop HL-10 never went into space, as missions involving it were canceled for several reasons. However, many tests were conducted right here, with flights lasting between four and seven minutes at most. Wingless airplanes were separated from B-52 aircraft to then fly independently. Many of these tests were successful, while in others there were accidents. In any case, the Northrop HL-10 was essential to the development of the Space Shuttle .