The wingless, lifting body aircraft sitting on Rogers Dry Lake at what is now NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, from left to right are the X-24A, M2-F3 and the HL-10. The lifting body aircraft studied the feasibility of maneuvering and landing an aerodynamic craft designed for reentry from space. These lifting bodies were air launched by a B-52 mother ship, then flew powered by their own rocket engines before making an unpowered approach and landing. They helped validate the concept that a space shuttle could make accurate landings without power.
The X-24A flew from April 17, 1969 to June 4, 1971. The M2-F3 flew from June 2, 1970 until December 21, 1971. The HL-10 flew from December 22, 1966 until July 17, 1970, and logged the highest and fastest records in the lifting body program.