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Final Flight: Bell X-2

Bell X-2 Featured Image

Fifty-nine years ago yesterday, the No. 1 USAF/Bell X-2 rocket-powered flight research aircraft reached a record speed of 2,094 mph with USAF Captain Milburn G. “Mel” Apt at the controls. However, victory quickly turned to tragedy when the aircraft departed controlled flight, crashed to destruction, and Apt perished. Mel Apt’s… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

XF-92A First Flight

XF-92A Featured Image

Sixty-seven years ago this month, the USAF/Convair XF-92A Dart made its first official flight from Muroc Army Airfield in California. Convair test pilot Ellis D. “Sam” Shannon was at the controls of the experimental delta-winged aircraft. The XF-92A Dart holds the distinction of being the first delta-winged, turbojet-powered aircraft in… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Historic ASAT Mission

ASAT Featured Image

Thirty years ago yesterday, 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

X-2 Soars to 126,200 Feet

X-2 Max Altitude Featured Image

Fifty-nine years ago today, the rocket-powered USAF/Bell X-2 aircraft established a new altitude record when it soared to 126,200 feet above sea level. This historic accomplishment took place on the penultimate mission of the type’s 20-flight aeronautical research program. The day was Friday, 07 September 1956. The X-2 was the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

The Phenomenal F-107A

USAF F-107A Featured Image_filtered

Fifty-nine years ago this month, the USAF/North American F-107A aircraft flew for the first time. The Mach 2-capable fighter-bomber went supersonic on the type’s maiden flight. The F-107A was designed, developed and tested by North American Aviation (NAA) in the mid-1950’s. With it, the contractor hoped to satisfy Tactical Air… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Uncategorized

Hypersonic Nose Gear Deployment

Nose wheel damage to X-15 after flt 2-33-56
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Fifty-one years ago this month, the 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

X-15 Into Space

Highest X-15 Flight Featured Image_filtered

Fifty-two years ago this week, 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. The date was Thursday, 22 August 1963. Carried aloft by… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

X-24B Precision Landing Feat

Precision Landing Featured Image

Forty years ago this month, the USAF/NASA/Martin X-24B became the first lifting body to make 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

Rising to the Occasion

Atlas 4B Featured Image_filtered

Fifty-seven years ago this week, an Atlas B flew 2,500 miles down the Eastern Test Range in a key developmental test of America’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Among other historic achievements, the test marked the first successful flight of the innovative stage-and-a-half missile. The infamous Cold War between the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Return to Earth

Return to Earth Featured Image

Forty-six years ago this month, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins arrived back at the Johnson Spacecraft Center (MSC) in Houston, Texas following their epic journey to and safe return from the Moon. Following splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, 24 July,… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History