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First Powered Flight

First Powered Flight Featured Image

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

STS-2 Mission Featured Image_filtered

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

NF-104 Featured Image

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

X-15 Mach 6 Flight Featured Image_filtered

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

HYPER-X Featured Image

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

Gemini’s Grand Finale

Gemini 12 Featured Image

Forty-eight years ago this month, NASA’s pioneering spaceflight program, Project Gemini, was brought to a successful conclusion with the 4-day flight of Gemini XII. Remarkably, the mission was the tenth Gemini flight in 20 months. Boosted to Earth orbit by a two-stage Titan II launch vehicle, Gemini XII Command Pilot… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Double Sonic First

D558-II Featured Image

Sixty-one years ago this month, the USN/Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket became the first aircraft to fly at twice the speed of sound. This historic event took place on Friday, 20 November 1953 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The D-558-II was a United States Navy (USN) X-aircraft and first flew in… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Walker’s Wild Ride

X-3 Stiletto Featured Image

Sixty years ago today, the USAF/Douglas X-3 Stiletto research aircraft encountered a violent dynamic instability during a flight test maneuver. NACA test pilot Joseph A. Walker was able to successfully recover the aircraft from this flight upset known as Inertial Roll Coupling. The X-3 was designed to fly at speeds… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Like a Phoenix Rising

Apollo 7 Featured Image

Forty-six years ago this month, NASA successfully conducted the first manned Apollo Earth-orbital mission with the flight of Apollo 7. This mission was a critically-important milestone along the path to the first manned lunar landing in July 1969. The launch of Apollo 7 took place from Launch Complex 34 at… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Sound Barrier Breakthrough

Bell XS-1 SN 46-062 Featured Image

Sixty-seven years ago to the day, USAF/Bell XS-1 Ship No. 1 (S/N 46-062) officially exceeded the speed of sound for the first time. With Air Force Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager at the controls, the rocket-powered flight research aircraft reached a maximum speed of 700 mph (Mach 1.06) at 45,000… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History