Hypersonic Research Craft
Production Run: 2011-2013
About the Design
In the 1960s, Lockheed and the U.S. Air Force's Flight Dynamics Laboratory (FDL) explored several design concepts for hypersonic flight. The three principal vehicles -- the FDL-5, the FDL-6 and the FDL-7 -- all looked markedly different, although all were based on 70-degree triangles.
The FDL-5 was conceived as an offensive military vehicle. Missions could include carrying military satellites to and from orbit as well as knocking enemy satellites out of commission.
The FDL-5 was distinguished by its variable-geometry wings, which could be extended for controlled landings. One proposal called for the craft to be carried aloft in the belly of a C-5 Galaxy transport and then released at high altitude, at which point hydrogen-oxygen liquid fuel boosters would blast it into orbit.
Some believe that the FDL-5 actually flew in 1969. If so, this makes the FDL-5 America's first reusable spacecraft!
About the Model