Flight Research Milestones
In the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, a succession of experimental aircraft were flown at Dryden. These airplanes, including the X-1E now on display in front of Dryden's main building, were unique vehicles designed for specific research purposes. At most, only a few copies of each were ever built. The craft rarely ventured beyond the airspace over the dry lake testing area.
During the 1960s, the rocket-powered X-15 put Dryden on the map; later the Space Shuttle program kept it there. People the world over have watched on television as orbiters ended their missions with landings at Edwards, which now serves as a back-up Shuttle landing site. Relatively few, however, know that the feasibility of a spacecraft capable of landing like an airplane was first tested and proven at Dryden through the lifting body projects of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Listed in chronological order are these and other interesting milestones in the history of Dryden. "Milestones in History" pages are updated annually at the beginning of the following calendar year.