Encyclopedia Astronautica
M2-F2



m2f104n.jpg
M2F2 lifting body
M2F2 lifting body / F-104N chase plane
Credit: NASA
e16731.jpg
MS-F2 after crash
MS-F2 after near-fatal crash on landing
Credit: NASA
m2f1m2f2.jpg
M2F1 / M2F2
M2F1 / M2F2 lifting bodies
Credit: NASA
American manned spaceplane. Study 1966. The least stable of the lifting body designs. The 'flying bathtub' had a rounded belly / flat top layout as opposed to the flat belly / rounded top of the other designs.

The M2-F2 crashed on 10 May 1967, seriously injuring the test pilot (the footage became familiar to millions when it was used in the opening credits of the television series 'The Six Million Dollar Man').

The original M2-F1 was a plywood glider towed from pickup trucks and C-47 transports as part of an 'in house' NASA Edwards project in 1963. The M2-F2 was built by Northrop at the same time as the HL-10 to permit a 'flyoff' of the two competing designs. John Becker at NACA believed the weight savings touted by lifting body advocates were an illusion. His analysis of the Ames M2b showed that it was 360 kg heavier than an equivalent winged design. Despite this, lifting body advocates continued to push their designs until the NASA shuttle design phase, when the same conclusion was reached.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • XLR11 Reaction Motors, Thiokol Lox/Alcohol rocket engine. Out of Production. Launch thrust 26.67 kN. Rocket engine developed for X-1 in 1940s to break the sound barrier and used twenty years later to power experimental lifting bodies. Four combustion chambers. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Northrop American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Northrop, USA. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Alcohol Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Alcohol (C2H5OH) was the fuel used for the German V-2 rocket, and the first derivative rocket engines in the United States, Soviet Union, and China used it as well. Better performance was achieved by increasing the alcohol concentration in the post-war engines. But after better-performance rocket-grade kerosene was developed by Rocketdyne in the REAP program of 1953, use of alcohol was abandoned. More...

Bibliography
  • Jenkins, Dennis R,, Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System : The First 100 Missions, Third edition, Voyageur Press, 2001.
  • Miller, Ron, The Dream Machines, Krieger, Malabar, Florida, 1993.
  • Zhelyez x-plane book,
  • NASA Report, Full-scale wind-tunnel investigation of the aerodynamic characteristics of the M2-F2 lifting body flight vehicle, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Stability and control characteristics of the M2-F2 lifting body measured during 16 glide flights, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Operational experiences and characteristics of the M2-F2 lifting body flight control system, Web Address when accessed: here.

M2-F2 Chronology


1962 September - .
  • M2-F1 lifting body first flight. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: M2-F2; HL-10; X-24A. The lifting body concept was first tested at Dryden with a plywood prototype designated the M2-F1 built in late 1962. It featured a plywood shell built by Gus Briegleb, a sailplane builder from Mirage Dry Lake, Calif., placed over a tubular frame built at Dryden. The M2-F1 was towed aloft, first behind an auto and then a C-47 more than 100 times, to validate basic lifting body stability and control characteristics. This led to establishment of the formal program which resulted in the HL-10, M2-F2, M2-F3, X-24A, and X-24B lifting bodies.

1966 July 2 - .
  • M2 Flight 1 - . Crew: Thompson. Payload: M2-F2 flight 1. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thompson. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: First flight M2-F2. Maximum Speed - 727 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 217 sec..

1966 July 9 - .
  • M2 Flight 2 - . Crew: Thompson. Payload: M2-F2 flight 2. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thompson. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 634 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 245sec..

1966 August 12 - .
  • M2 Flight 3 - . Crew: Thompson. Payload: M2-F2 flight 3. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thompson. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 656 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 278 sec..

1966 August 24 - .
  • M2 Flight 4 - . Crew: Thompson. Payload: M2-F2 flight 4. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thompson. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 718 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 241 sec..

1966 September 2 - .
  • M2 Flight 5 - . Crew: Thompson. Payload: M2-F2 flight 5. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Thompson. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 750 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 226sec..

1966 September 16 - .
  • M2 Flight 6 - . Crew: Peterson, Bruce. Payload: M2-F2 flight 6. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Peterson, Bruce. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: 360 degree approach. Maximum Speed - 750 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 210 sec..

1966 September 20 - .
  • M2 Flight 7 - . Crew: Sorlie. Payload: M2-F2 flight 7. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Sorlie. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 677 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 211 sec..

1966 September 22 - .
1966 September 28 - .
  • M2 Flight 9 - . Crew: Sorlie. Payload: M2-F2 flight 9. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Sorlie. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 713 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 233 sec..

1966 October 5 - .
  • M2 Flight 10 - . Crew: Sorlie. Payload: M2-F2 flight 10. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Sorlie. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 713 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 225 sec..

1966 October 12 - .
  • M2 Flight 11 - . Crew: Gentry. Payload: M2-F2 flight 11. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gentry. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 692 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 234 sec..

1966 October 26 - .
  • M2 Flight 12 - . Crew: Gentry. Payload: M2-F2 flight 12. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gentry. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 702 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 227 sec..

1966 November 14 - .
  • M2 Flight 13 - . Crew: Gentry. Payload: M2-F2 flight 13. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gentry. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 642 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 261 sec..

1966 November 21 - .
  • M2 Flight 14 - . Crew: Gentry. Payload: M2-F2 flight 14. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gentry. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 716 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 230 sec..

1967 May 2 - .
  • M2 Flight 15 - . Crew: Gentry. Payload: M2-F2 flight 15. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gentry. Program: NASA Lifting Body. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: M2-F2. Summary: Maximum Speed - 661 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m. Flight Time - 231 sec..

1967 May 10 - .
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