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Last Man

Forty-seven years ago this month, NASA successfully conducted the sixth lunar landing mission of the Apollo Program. Known as Apollo 17, the flight marked the last time that men from the planet Earth explored the surface of the Moon. Apollo 17 was launched from LC-39A at Cape Canaveral, Florida on… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

The Wright Stuff

One-hundred and sixteen years ago today, the Wright Flyer became the first aircraft in history to achieve powered flight. The site of this historic event was Kill Devil Hills located near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Americans Wilbur and Orville Wright began their legendary aeronautical careers in 1899. In a matter… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: NF-104A, Ship 3

Fifty-six years ago to the day, USAF NF-104A (S/N 56-762; Ship 3) crashed to destruction following a rocket-powered zoom to 101,600 feet above mean sea level (AMSL). The pilot, USAF Colonel Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager, was seriously injured, but survived when he successfully ejected from the stricken aircraft approximately 5,000… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

Zoom Flight Record

Fifty-six years ago to the day, USAF Major Robert W. Smith zoomed the rocket-powered USAF/Lockheed NF-104A to an unofficial world record altitude of 120,800 feet. This mark still stands as the highest altitude ever achieved by a United States aircraft from a runway take-off. A zoom maneuver is one in… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First Flight Over the South Pole

Ninety years ago to the day, a four-man crew became the first Antarctic explorers to fly over the Earth’s South Pole. The aircraft used to make the historic flight was a Ford Trimotor. While substantial exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic by land and sea had occurred far earlier, exploration… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: X-15, Ship No. 3

Fifty-two years ago this month, the No. 3 USAF/North American X-15 research aircraft broke-up during a steep dive from an apogee of 266,000 feet. The pilot, USAF Major Michael J. Adams, perished when his aircraft was ripped apart by aerodynamic forces as it passed through 65,000 feet at more than… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

HYPER-X Speed Record

Fifteen years ago to the day, 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 eclipsed its own record speed of Mach 6.83 (4,600 mph) and became the fastest air breathing aircraft of all time. In 1996,… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Apollo Into Space

Fifty-one years ago this month, NASA successfully conducted the first manned Apollo Earth-orbital mission with the flight of Apollo 7 (Mission AS-205). 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… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Returning to Flight

Thirty-one 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

Beyond Mach One

Seventy-two years ago today, the rocket-powered USAF/Bell XS-1 experimental aircraft exceeded the speed of sound when it reached a maximum speed of 700 mph (Mach 1.06) at 45,000 feet. Bell Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York built three copies of the XS-1 under contract to the United States Army Air… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History
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