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HAM in a Can

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Fifty-four years ago this month, NASA successfully conducted a critical flight test of the space agency’s Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle which helped clear the way for the United States’ first manned suborbital spaceflight. Riding the diminutive Mercury spacecraft into space and back was a 44-month old male chimpanzee by the name… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Navaho Flight Test Milestone

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Fifty-seven years ago this month, a XSM-64 Navaho G-26 flight test vehicle flew 1,075 miles in 40 minutes at a sustained speed of Mach 2.8. It was the 8th flight test of the ill-fated Navaho Program. The post-World War II era saw the development of a myriad of missile weapons… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: Cactus 1549

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Six years ago this month, US Airways Flight 1549 successfully ditched in the Hudson River following loss of thrust in both turbofan engines. Incredibly, all 155 passengers and crew members survived. US Airways Flight 1549 lifted-off from Runway 4 of New York’s LaGuardia Airport at 18:25:56 UTC on Thursday, 15… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

When Will We Go Back?

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Forty-two years ago this month, NASA successfully conducted the sixth lunar landing mission of the Apollo Program. Known as Apollo 17, the flight marked the last time that men from the planet Earth explored the surface of the Moon. Apollo 17 was launched from LC-39A at Cape Canaveral, Florida on… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Saving Apollo

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Forty-six years ago this month, three American astronauts became the first men to orbit the Earth’s Moon during the flight of Apollo 8. This epic mission also featured the first manned flight of the mighty Saturn V launch vehicle as well as history’s first superorbital entry of a manned spacecraft.… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First Powered Flight

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One-hundred and eleven years ago this month, the Wright Flyer became the first aircraft in history to achieve powered flight. The site of this historic event was Kill Devil Hills situated near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Americans Wilbur and Orville Wright began their legendary aeronautical careers in 1899. In a… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First Reusable Space Ship

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Thirty-three years ago this week, the Space Shuttle Columbia completed the second mission of the Space Shuttle Program. Designated STS-2, the mission marked the first reuse of a space vehicle for manned orbital flight. America’s early manned spacecraft – Mercury, Gemini and Apollo – were single-flight vehicles. That is, a… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Highest Zoom Flight

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Fifty-one years ago this week, USAF Major Robert W. Smith zoomed the rocket-powered Lockheed NF-104A to an unofficial world record altitude of 120,800 feet. This mark still stands as the highest altitude ever achieved by a United States aircraft from a runway take-off. A zoom maneuver is one in which… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First to Mach 6

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Fifty-three years ago this month, the USAF/NASA/North American X-15 became the first manned aircraft to exceed Mach 6 or six times the speed of sound. United States Air Force test pilot Major Robert M. White was at the controls of the legendary hypersonic flight research aircraft. The North American X-15… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Fastest Airbreathing Aircraft

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Ten years ago yesterday, the NASA X-43A scramjet-powered flight research vehicle reached a record speed of over 6,600 mph (Mach 9.68). In doing so, the X-43A broke its own record speed of Mach 6.83 (4,600 mph) and became the fastest airbreathing aircraft of all time. In 1996, NASA initiated a… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History