April 4, 1969

1969: The X-24 Lifting Body completed its first captive flight with test pilot Maj Jerauld R. Gentry at the controls. The Martin Marietta X-24 was an American experimental aircraft developed from a joint United States Air Force-NASA program named PILOT (1963–1975). It was designed and built to test lifting body concepts, experimenting with the concept of unpowered reentry and landing, later used by the Space Shuttle. Originally built as the X-24A, the aircraft was later rebuilt as the X-24B.
The X-24 was drop launched from a modified B-52 Stratofortress at high altitudes before igniting its rocket engine; after expending its rocket fuel, the pilot would glide the X-24 to an unpowered landing.