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XB-45 Tornado First Flight

Seventy years ago this month, the USAF/North American XB-45 Tornado bomber made its inaugural test flight at Muroc Army Air Field, California. The type would go on to become the United States’ first operational turbojet-powered bomber. The XB-45 measured 74 feet in length, had a wingspan of 89.5 feet and… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

A Grapefruit in Space

Fifty-nine years ago this week, 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… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First Super Sabre ZLL

Fifty-nine years ago this month, the first zero-length launch of an USAF/North American F-100D Super Sabre took place at Edwards Air Force Base, California. North American Test Pilot Albert “Al” R. Blackburn was at the controls of the experimental rocket-propelled test aircraft. Zero-Length Launch (ZLL) was a concept pioneered by… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: USAF/Martin XB-51

Sixty-one years ago this month, the No. 1 USAF/Martin XB-51 light attack bomber prototype crashed during take-off from El Paso International Airport in Texas. The cause of the mishap was attributed to premature rotation of the aircraft leading to an unrecoverable stall. A product of the post-WWII 1940’s, the Martin… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

First American in Orbit

Fifty-five years ago today, Project Mercury Astronaut John Herschel 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 the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

The Awesome SeaMaster

Fifty-eight years ago this month, the U.S. Navy’s first production Martin P6M-2 SeaMaster flyingboat took-off from Chesapeake Bay on its maiden flight. Martin chief test pilot George A. Rodney was at the controls of the 4-man, swept-wing naval bomber as it took to the skies on Tuesday, 17 February 1959.… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Aquila Ultimus

Forty-two years ago this month, a USAF/McDonnell-Douglas F-15A Eagle Air Superiority Fighter zoomed to an altitude of 30 km (98,425 feet) in an elapsed time of 207.8 seconds from brake release. The pilot for the record-breaking mission was USAF Major Roger Smith. Operation Streak Eagle was a mid-1970′s effort by… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Explorer I

Fifty-nine years ago today, the United States successfully orbited the country’s first satellite. Known as Explorer I, the artificial moon went on to discover the system of radiation belts that surrounds the space environment of the Earth. The Explorer I satellite was designed and fabricated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: AS-204 Fire

Fifty years ago to the day, the Apollo 204 prime crew perished as fire swept through their Apollo Block I Command Module (CM). The Apollo 204 crew of Command Pilot Vigil I. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee had been scheduled to make… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

Skyray Maiden Flight

Sixty-four years ago this month, the USN/Douglas XF4D-1 Skyray fighter flew for the first time at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Douglas test pilot Robert O. Rahn was at the controls of the single-engine, carrier-based, supersonic-capable aircraft. The Douglas XF4D-1 was the prototype version of the United States Navy’s… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History
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