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Space History Photo: NASA HL-20 Lifting Body

space history, NASA, lifting bodies
This non-flying, full-scale mockup of the HL-20 lifting body, used for various tests of maintainability and human factors considerations, was never built.
(Image: © NASA.)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency taken on Oct. 22, 1991, the HL-20, which was built at Langley in October 1990, and is a full-scale non-flying mockup, is shown. This mockup was used for engineering studies of maintainability of the vehicle, as testing crew positions, pilot visibility and other human factors considerations.

The HL-20 was a direct derivative of the HL-10 vehicle tested in the 1960s and bears a very close resemblance to engineering drawings produced at that time. Although evaluated as a possible "space taxi," the HL-20, sometimes called the "Personnel Launch System," was never built.

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

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