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Dyna-Soar X-20A

DAYTON, Ohio -- Dyna-Soar X-20 auxiliary power unit (left), wind tunnel model and survival kit in the Missile and Space Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Dyna-Soar X-20 auxiliary power unit (left), wind tunnel model and survival kit in the Missile and Space Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As the Aerobee and other programs, including the X-15, were testing the edges of the atmosphere, the Air Force was at work on a vehicle to realize the reusable spacecraft concept. Titled Dyna-Soar for "Dynamic Soaring," the new program (actually an amalgamation of several earlier programs) envisioned a delta wing boost glider that would ride into space mounted on a modified Titan booster. Redesignated X-20A in 1962 to emphasize its research function, the project saw much development work in such diverse areas as hot structures technology, delta re-entry shapes, on-board guidance systems and hypersonic design theory. Much of the basic technology for later winged re-entry vehicles can be traced to Dyna-Soar.

Dyna-Soar Survival Kit
Since the Dyna-Soar was to have an ability to land at different locations after re-entry, the possibility of a bailout or emergency landing over maritime or wilderness area had to be considered in designing crew support equipment for the vehicle. The items included in the kit on display at the museum are similar to those in the worldwide survival kits issued to crewmen of military aircraft of the period.

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