AST Configuration >
The Aircraft > home

AST Configuration click on the links below for more of the manual...
Introduction & Configuration - Flight Profile - Max Zoom - Aerodynamics of the AST - Space Control & Dynamics

Flight Profile - Max Zoom

Trim was not changed from the beginning of the pull up until completion of the zoom and reentry to aeronautic controls, for stability and safety considerations, especially to aid in preventing excess angle of attack at reentry, after the zoom peak.  This lack of retrim did allow the AST to attempt nose down in the climb, but the pilot had to manually overcome that with back stick or would fail to achieve the mission.  The pilot’s primary task was the critical attitude control throughout the zoom.

Flight Characteristics: (PFM Section VI The Chart, including maximum zoom limits was based on the mathematical analyses done by Lockheed Aircraft prior to any testing of the AST:


The following table is based on presumptions from the reported but not recorded maximum zooms and gives the conditions at roughly Mach 1 at altitudes, representative of the AST peak altitude, assuming supersonic, which was generally the case, however it was possible to get to lower q with lower Mach, making the RCS even more effective. The standard airspeed gage did not go below 60 knots and was inaccurate at that level. Airspeed was not important to the pilot in the zoom and Mach was, only for pull up, but I checked the readings over the top on one occasion and noted about Mach 1 and below 60 knots, thus the inclusion of the following chart, for interest only.   

Typical Flight Conditions for the AST


(True Velocity)

alt. (feet)

(Dynamic Pressure)

(Equivalent Airspeed)


1000 fps



70 kts


1000 fps



55 kts


1000 fps



43 kts

Note: Indicated Airspeed slightly higher than Equivalent, due to compressibility.

previous section next section