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STS-1: Hail Columbia!

STS-1 Featured Image

Thirty-four years ago this month, the United States successfully launched the Space Shuttle Columbia into orbit about the Earth. It was the maiden flight of the Nation’s Space Transportation System (STS). The Space Shuttle was unlike any manned space vehicle ever flown. A giant aircraft known as the Orbiter was… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

The Original Seven

Original Seven Featured Image

Fifty-six years ago this week, NASA held a press conference in Washington, D.C. to introduce the seven men selected to be Project Mercury Astronauts. They would become known as the Mercury Seven or Original Seven. Project Mercury was America’s first manned spaceflight program. The overall objective of Project Mercury was… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Scramjet Speed Record

X-43A Flight 2 Featured Image

Eleven years ago this month, the NASA X-43A scramjet-powered flight research vehicle reached a record speed of over 4,600 mph (Mach 6.83). The test marked the first time in the annals of aviation that a flight-scale scramjet accelerated an aircraft in the hypersonic Mach number regime. NASA initiated a technology… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Inaugural Gemini Mission

GT-3 Featured Image

Fifty years ago this week, Gemini III was launched into Earth orbit with astronauts Vigil I. “Gus” Grissom and John W. Young onboard. The 3-orbit mission marked the first time that the United States flew a multi-man spacecraft. Project Mercury was America’s first manned spaceflight series. Project Apollo would ultimately… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

The Grapefruit Satellite

Vanguard 1 Featured Image_filtered

Fifty-seven years ago today, the United States Navy Vanguard Program registered its first success with the orbiting of the Vanguard 1 satellite. The diminutive orb was the fourth man-made object to be placed in Earth orbit. The Vanguard Program was established in 1955 as part of the United States involvement… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

X-24A Maximum Speed Mission

X-24A Featured Image

Forty-four years ago this month, the USAF/NASA X-24A lifting body was flown to a speed of 1,036 mph (Mach 1.6) by NASA Research Pilot John Manke. It was the highest speed ever attained by the rocket-powered lifting body. A lifting body is an unconventional aircraft in that the vehicle generates… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Emergency in Orbit

Gemini 8 Featured Image

Forty-nine years ago this month, the crew of Gemini VIII successfully regained control of their tumbling spacecraft following failure of an attitude control thruster. The incident marked the first life-threatening on-orbit emergency and resulting mission abort in the history of Amercian manned spaceflight. Gemini VIII was the sixth manned mission… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

King Neptune’s Spear

U.S. Navy intercepts malfunctioning intellegence satellite

Seven years ago this month, a United States Navy STANDARD Missile SM-3 Block IA interceptor engaged and destroyed a defunct NRO satellite at an altitude of 133 nautical miles. The relative velocity at intercept was in excess of 22,000 mph. The United States Navy/Raytheon Missile Systems SM-3 (RIM-161) is the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Friendship 7

GLENN ORBITAL FLIGHT

Fifty-three years ago this week, Project Mercury Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn’s spacecraft name and mission call sign was Friendship 7. Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) lifted-off from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 14 at 14:47:39 UTC on Tuesday, 20 February 1962. It was… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

X-10 Speed Record

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Fifty-nine years ago this month, the USAF/North American X-10 experimental flight research vehicle achieved a maximum speed of Mach 2.05 during its 19th test flight. The mark established a new speed record for turbojet-powered aircraft. The precedent set by the Nazi V-1 and V-2 Vergeltungswaffen (Vengeance Weapons) in World War… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History
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