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The unusual craft was released by a mother ship 800-1,000 feet (245-305 m) in the air.Following this its wings were inflated using a burst of nitrogen oxide from a container on board.Created by Nasa's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology project, the 'Helios' prototype can be seen taking its first flight over Kauai, Hawaii.

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Other Nasa machines have been less successful, and often foray into the outright bizarre - such as a plane with inflatable wings, or a glider launched via helicopter.

All of Nasa's famous craft went through rigorous flight tests during development, and the agency is releasing hundreds of historic research videos of its machines being put through their paces.

The clip was taken in 1969 as the research craft was tested for lunar landing techniques in preparation for the Apollo 11 moon mission later that year This 53-second video from December 12, 1969 shows a Hyper III drop test from an SH-3 helicopter.

Once the Hyper III was dropped from the helicopter it glided to land remotely, although there was also space for a pilot on-board.

The light and inexpensive craft was designed to test aircraft body shape and learn how more lift could be generated through aerodynamics This 1984 footage shows a Boeing 720 being crash landed by Nasa researchers on purpose, with the craft seen exploding into a ball of flames.

The video captured a unique flight experiment to test the impact of a Boeing 720 aircraft using standard fuel with an additive designed to suppress fire.

From the initial 1969 tests of the Apollo 11 moon landing craft, to a controlled crash of a Boeing 720 aircraft in 1984, the You Tube videos give a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the world's most successful space agency.

This 42-second video, taken on April 25, 2001, shows Nasa's first test flight of inflatable wing technology.

The additive FM-9, a long chain chemical polymer, when blended with Jet-A fuel, had previously been shown to inhibit ignition and flame propagation of the released fuel in simulated impact tests.

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