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Lockheed D-21 aircraft, project Tagboard

Lockheed D-21 Aircraft, Project Tagboard

On 23 July 1971, the D-21B program was canceled due to its poor success rate, the introduction of a new generation of photo reconnaissance satellites, and President Richard Nixon's rapprochement with China. A total of 38 D-21 and D-21B drones had been built, 21 of which were expended in launches. The remaining 17 were initially stored at Norton Air Force Base, California, then moved to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base "boneyard" near Tucson, Arizona, in 1976 and 1977. With the base open to the public, the D-21 drones were quickly spotted and photographed. The Air Force called them GTD-21Bs with the GT standing for Ground Training.
The fate of the D-21 that had disappeared on the first operational flight was finally revealed in February 1986 when an official from the CIA returned a panel to Ben Rich that he had been given by a Soviet KGB agent. The drone had self-destructed over Siberia and the Soviets had recovered the wreckage. The Tupolev design bureau reverse-engineered the wreck and produced plans for a Soviet copy, named the Voron (Raven), but it was never built.
In the late 1990s NASA considered using a D-21 to test a hybrid "rocket-based combined cycle" engine, which operates as a ramjet or rocket, depending on its flight regime. Ultimately NASA used a derivative of the agency's X-43A hypersonic test vehicle for the experiments.

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Keywords:#lockheed #aircraft #project #tagboard
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Date added:Apr 12, 2016
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