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Fastest Airbreathing Aircraft

HYPER-X Featured Image

Ten years ago yesterday, the NASA X-43A scramjet-powered flight research vehicle reached a record speed of over 6,600 mph (Mach 9.68). In doing so, the X-43A broke its own record speed of Mach 6.83 (4,600 mph) and became the fastest airbreathing aircraft of all time. In 1996, NASA initiated a… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Gemini’s Grand Finale

Gemini 12 Featured Image

Forty-eight years ago this month, NASA’s pioneering spaceflight program, Project Gemini, was brought to a successful conclusion with the 4-day flight of Gemini XII. Remarkably, the mission was the tenth Gemini flight in 20 months. Boosted to Earth orbit by a two-stage Titan II launch vehicle, Gemini XII Command Pilot… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Double Sonic First

D558-II Featured Image

Sixty-one years ago this month, the USN/Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket became the first aircraft to fly at twice the speed of sound. This historic event took place on Friday, 20 November 1953 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The D-558-II was a United States Navy (USN) X-aircraft and first flew in… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Walker’s Wild Ride

X-3 Stiletto Featured Image

Sixty years ago today, the USAF/Douglas X-3 Stiletto research aircraft encountered a violent dynamic instability during a flight test maneuver. NACA test pilot Joseph A. Walker was able to successfully recover the aircraft from this flight upset known as Inertial Roll Coupling. The X-3 was designed to fly at speeds… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Like a Phoenix Rising

Apollo 7 Featured Image

Forty-six years ago this month, NASA successfully conducted the first manned Apollo Earth-orbital mission with the flight of Apollo 7. This mission was a critically-important milestone along the path to the first manned lunar landing in July 1969. The launch of Apollo 7 took place from Launch Complex 34 at… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Sound Barrier Breakthrough

Bell XS-1 SN 46-062 Featured Image

Sixty-seven years ago to the day, USAF/Bell XS-1 Ship No. 1 (S/N 46-062) officially exceeded the speed of sound for the first time. With Air Force Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager at the controls, the rocket-powered flight research aircraft reached a maximum speed of 700 mph (Mach 1.06) at 45,000… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Return to Flight

STS-26 Landing Featured Image

Twenty-six years ago this month, the Space Shuttle Discovery and her five man crew landed on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base to successfully complete the Return-to-Flight (RTF) mission of STS-26. The flight signaled a resumption of the Space Shuttle Program after a 32-month hiatus in manned spaceflight… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

The Legend Begins

USAF XF-86 Sabre Featured Image

Sixty-seven years ago today, the swept-wing XP-86, the initial version of the famed USAF/North America F-86 Sabre, began flight testing at what is now Edwards Air Force Base. The iconic Mig Alley legend would be produced in numerous variants and ultimately rack-up a total production run of nearly 10,000 aircraft… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: USAF/Bell X-2

Bell X-2 Featured Image

Fifty-eight years ago this week, the Bell X-2 rocket-powered research aircraft reached a record speed of 2,094 mph with USAF Captain Milburn G. “Mel” Apt at the controls. The new speed mark corresponded to a Mach number of 3.2 at an altitude of 65,000 feet. Mel Apt’s historic achievement came… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

Penultimate Gemini Mission

Gemini 11 Featured Image

Forty-eight years ago today, Gemini 11 completed a spectacular 3-day mission that helped pave the way to the first manned lunar landing. The all-Navy crew included astronauts Charles P. Conrad, Jr. and Richard F. Gordon, Jr. America’s manned space effort of the 1960′s and early 1970′s consisted of the Mercury,… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History