Convair's flying Wing

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Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2014
Isn't that "deployable wings" kinda what Rutan used on the SpaceShip 1?
Sort of ...
Rutan's space ships have fixed wings but tail surfaces that can be rotated almost 90 degrees up, aligning wings almost 90 degrees off the relative wind. This creates so much aerodynamic drag that the wings are stalled and it can never descend fast enough to overheat.


Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2014
Rochester, NY, USA
The Shuttlecock solution to heat.

One Skylab escape system proposal used a big balloon, with such a high drag to weight ratio that it would not heat up too much. Keep in mind you hit the upper atmosphere at more or less Mach 24. ( after reentry rocket burn ) IIRC it was heavier than the "plastic bag you fill with foam" alternative, so they never did a full scale test from orbit. Then they never did a full scale test on the Bag o Foam. Then they never did a full scale test on the Escape Capsule... Or used any of them. Just park an old school manned meteorite Soyuz capsule on Stations.

The International expensive...

The joyride cheapie...

There was a time I'd have volunteered to be the Second manned successful test subject for that early one. Doubt my back would enjoy it today.

Rutan's Spaceship One solution has too low a drag/mass ratio for orbital reentry, but is nearly perfect for just falling from space from essentially a dead stop.