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Highest X-15 Flight

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Fifty-three 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

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Uncommon Valor

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Fifty-six years ago to the day, USAF Captain Joseph W. Kittinger, Jr. successfully completed a daring parachute jump from 102,800 feet (19.5 miles). The historic bailout took place over the Tularosa Basin of New Mexico. Kittinger’s jump was the final mission of the three-jump Project Excelsior flight research effort which… Read More

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Orbiter First Free Flight

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Thirty-nine years ago this week, 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

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X-1A Maximum Altitude Flight

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Sixty-two years ago this month, USAF Major Arthur W. “Kit” Murray set a new world altitude record of 90,440 feet in the rocket-powered 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

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Mercury-Redstone 4

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Fifty-five 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

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We Came in Peace

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Forty-seven years ago today, the United States of America landed two men on the surface of the Moon. This feat marked the first time in history that men from the planet Earth set foot on another celestial body in the solar system. The Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle landed in… Read More

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B-2 First Flight

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Twenty-seven years ago this month, the USAF/Northrop B-2 Stealth Strategic Bomber flew for the first time. The aircrew for the B-2’s maiden trip upstairs included Northrop B-2 Division Chief Test Pilot Bruce J. Hinds (command pilot) and B-2 Combined Test Force Commander USAF Col. Richard S. Couch (co-pilot). The B-2… Read More

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Home For the Fourth

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Thirty-four years ago this week, the Space Shuttle Columbia landed at Edwards Air Force Base to successfully conclude the fourth orbital mission of the Space Transportation System. Columbia’s return to earth added a special touch to the celebration of America’s 206th birthday. STS-4 was NASA’s fourth Space Shuttle mission in… Read More

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Knight Flight

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Forty-nine years ago today, USAF Major William F. “Pete” Knight made an emergency landing in X-15 No. 1 at Mud Lake, Nevada. Knight somehow managed to save the hypersonic aircraft following a complete loss of electrical power as the vehicle passed through 107,000 feet during the climb. The famed X-15… Read More

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First American Space Walk

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Fifty-one years ago this month, Astronaut Edward H. White II became the first American to perform what in NASA parlance is referred to as an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA). In everyday terms; a space walk. White, Mission Commander James A. McDivitt and their Gemini IV spacecraft were launched into low… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History