Testing the Air
The four principal HL-10 pilots are seen here with the lifting body aircraft. From left to right, they are Air Force Major Jerauld R. Gentry, Air Force test pilot Peter Hoag, and NASA pilots John A. Manke and Bill Dana. Lifting bodies were wingless vehicles that flew because of the lift generated by the aircraft's body. The research proved that future spacecraft could land like an airplane, helping to pave the way for the development of the Space Shuttle.
In August 2005, Dana and other civilian pilots received astronaut wings acknowledging their flights above 50 miles high in the X-15 rocket plane.
Image Credit: NASA