Aeronautics: The Wingless Glider

The contraption looked more like an inverted flat iron than a flying machine. With two tail fins and no wings, a rounded belly and a flat top, the experimental craft M2-F2 was rolled out last week by Northrop's Norair division and turned over to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a series of test flights. M2-F2 is a wingless glider, called the Manned Lifting Body Research Vehicle, designed to be used eventually to ferry astronauts back from space to a dry landing rather than an ocean dunking.

Wrapped in an aluminum skin, the M2-F2 measures 22 ft. 2...

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