Model, Space Shuttle, Delta-Wing High Cross-Range Orbiter Concept

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This object is on display in the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

NASA used this Space Shuttle orbiter concept model in wind tunnel tests to learn about the flight characteristics of the vehicle's shape. Although the orbiter would spend most of its time in space, its aerodynamic shape would affect its passage through the atmosphere during launch and descent. This model has wide delta wings for greater cross-range maneuverability during final descent; that is, without engine power, it could glide across a wider swath of land to reach the runway than other wing shapes. However, delta wings meant a heavier orbiter and more surface heating during reentry. NASA transferred a variety of wind tunnel and concept models to the Museum after settling on the final Space Shuttle design.