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Final Flight: USAF X-2

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Sixty years ago today, 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

First Satellite Intercept

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Thirty-one years ago this month, the USAF/LTV ASM-135 anti-satellite missile successfully intercepted a target satellite orbiting 300 nautical miles above the Earth. The 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 in the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

North American F-107A

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Sixty years ago this month, the USAF/North American F-107A aircraft flew for the first time. Interestingly, the Mach 2-capable fighter-bomber prototype went supersonic on its 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… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First of the Space Men

Bell X-2 Front Page Image

Sixty years ago today, the rocket-powered USAF/Bell X-2 aircraft established a new altitude record when the vehicle soared to 126,200 feet above sea level. This historic accomplishment took place on the penultimate mission of the type’s troubled 20-flight aeronautical research program. The X-2 was the successor to Bell’s X-1A rocket-powered… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

8 Days or Bust

Gemini 5 Featured Image

Fifty-one years ago this month, NASA astronauts Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper and Charles M. “Pete” Conrad set a new spaceflight endurance record during the flight of Gemini 5. It was the third of ten (10) missions in the historic Gemini spaceflight series. The motto for the mission was “Eight Days… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

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

Posted in Aerospace, History

Uncommon Valor

Excelsior III Featured Image

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

Posted in Aerospace, History

Orbiter First Free Flight

ALT Featured Image

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

Posted in Aerospace, History

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

Posted in Aerospace, History

Mercury-Redstone 4

MR-4 Featured Image

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

Posted in Aerospace, History
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