Space History Photo: M2-F3 In-Flight Launch from the B-52 Mothership
The M2-F3 is launched from the B-52 Mothership in 1971.
Credit: NASA.

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the M2-F3 lifting body is being launched from NASA's B- 52 mothership at the NASA Flight Research Center (FRC — now the Dryden Flight Research Center), Edwards, California.

A fleet of lifting bodies flown at the FRC from 1963 to l975 demonstrated the ability of pilots to maneuver and safely land a wingless vehicle designed to fly back to Earth from space and be landed like an aircraft at a pre-determined site.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).