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First Satellite Intercept Mission

Thirty-three years ago today, the USAF/LTV ASM-135 anti-satellite missile successfully intercepted a target satellite orbiting 300 nautical miles above surface of the Earth. The historic test was the first and only time that an aircraft-launched missile successfully engaged and destroyed an orbiting spacecraft. The United States began testing anti-satellite missiles… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

The First Spaceman

Sixty-two years ago to the day, the rocket-powered USAF/Bell X-2 aircraft established a new altitude record when the vehicle soared to 126,200 feet above sea level. This historic accomplishment took place on the penultimate mission of the type’s troubled 20-flight aeronautical research program. The X-2 was the successor to Bell’s… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Paving the Way

Forty-three years ago this month, the USAF/NASA/Martin X-24B became the first lifting body to perform an unpowered precision landing on a concrete runway. The feat was pivotal to convincing NASA officials that landing the Space Shuttle Orbiter in an unpowered state was operationally feasible. Early Space Shuttle Orbiter operational concepts… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

X-15 Flight 91

Fifty-five years ago today, NASA chief research pilot Joseph A. Walker flew X-15 Ship No. 3 (S/N 56-6672) to an altitude of 354,200 feet. This flight would mark the highest altitude ever achieved by the famed hypersonic research vehicle. Carried aloft by NASA’s NB-52A (S/N 52-0003) mothership, Walker’s X-15 was… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Hypersonic Nose Gear Deployment

Fifty-four years ago today, the fabled North American X-15 hit a speed of 3,590 mph (Mach 5.23) in a flight that reached an altitude of 103,300 feet. While decelerating through Mach 4.2, the nose gear of the aircraft unexpectedly deployed in flight. The 114th powered flight of the legendary X-15… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Enterprise First Free Flight

Forty-one years ago this month, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise successfully completed the first free flight of the Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) Program. NASA Astronauts Fred W. Haise, Jr. and Charles G. “Gordon” Fullerton were at the controls of the pathfinder orbiter vehicle (OV-101). Developers of the Space Shuttle… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

The X-1A’s Highest Flight

Sixty-four years ago this month, USAF Major Arthur W. “Kit” Murray set a new world altitude record of 90,440 feet in the rocket-powered USAF/Bell X-1A. In doing so, Murray reported that he could detect the curvature of the Earth from the apex of his trajectory. The USAF/Bell X-1A was designed… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Back Home

Forty-nine years ago today, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins returned safely to the Earth to bring to a close the first space mission to land men on the lunar surface. With their safe return, President John F. Kennedy’s inspired national goal of… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

“Boy, That Was a Ride!”

Fifty-six years ago to the day, USAF Major Robert M. White flew the North American X-15 hypersonic research aircraft to a record altitude of 314,750 feet (51.8 nautical miles). In doing so, he became the first X-15 pilot to be awarded USAF Astronaut Wings. The North American X-15 was the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Liberty Bell 7

Fifty-seven years ago this month, Mercury Seven Astronaut Vigil I. “Gus” Grissom, Jr. became the second American to go into space. Grissom’s suborbital mission was flown aboard a Mercury space capsule that he named Liberty Bell 7. The United States first manned space mission was flown on Friday, 05 May… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight
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