National Geographic : 1960 Jul
KODACHROMESBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERS BATES LITTLEHALES(ABOVE) AND DEAN CONGER© N.G.S. Gliders shaped like speedboats represent current de sign in space ships. Unlike the Mercury capsule, which arcs to earth like a cannon shell, a glider would plane back from orbit and land safely. Cocking its nose high in the air, it would use the "hull" as a wing to gain lift. At just such an angle, technician Joe Pethel mounts a wooden "lifting body" on a long boom at Langley Re search Center. Slots in the metal floor of this transonic wind tunnel permit expansion of air in the narrow test section, lessening turbulence. A more streamlined model 72 (inset) copies a boy's paper dart.