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Valiancy in the Air

Thirty-six years ago this month, the valiant crew of a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker performed multiple aerial refuelings of a stricken USAF F-4E Phantom II over the North Atlantic Ocean. Conducted under extremely perilous flight conditions, the remarkable actions of the aerial tanker’s crew allowed the F-4E to remain aloft long… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Celestial Bull’s Eye

Thirty-four years ago today, 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-1A Highest Flight

Sixty-five 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

Mach 4 Landing Gear Deployment

Fifty-five years ago this month, the fabled 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… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Reaching the Summit

Fifty-six 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

8 Days in a Garbage Can

Fifty-four 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

Long Lonely Leap

Fifty-nine years ago this month, 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 focused… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Loud Bird

Sixty-four years ago this month, the USAF/Republic XF-84H experimental turboprop fighter took to the air on its maiden flight. The test sortie was flown at Edwards Air Force Base with Republic test pilot Henry G. “Hank” Beaird, Jr. at the controls. The XF-84H was an experimental variant of Republic Aviation’s… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Mission Accomplished

Fifty years ago today, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Alden Armstrong, Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins returned safely to the Earth to bring to a close the first space mission to land men on the lunar surface. With their safe return, President John F. Kennedy’s inspired national goal of… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Launch Into History

Fifty years ago today, the epic flight of Apollo 11, the first mission to land men on the Moon, began with launch from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at Merritt Island, Florida. Nearly 1-million people gathered around America’s famous space complex to witness the historic event. An estimated 1-billion viewers… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History
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