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Freedom in Space

Fifty-seven years ago this week, United States Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. became the first American to be launched into space. Shepard named his Mercury spacecraft Freedom 7. Officially designated as Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) by NASA, the mission was America’s first true attempt to put a man into space.… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

America’s Mercury Seven

Fifty-nine years ago this month, NASA held a press conference in Washington, D.C. to introduce the seven men selected to be Project Mercury Astronauts. They would become known as the Mercury Seven or Original Seven. Project Mercury was America’s first manned spaceflight program. The overall objective of Project Mercury was… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Our Finest Hour

Forty-seven years ago this month, the crew of Apollo 13 departed Earth and headed for the Fra Mauro highlands of the Moon. Less than six days later, they would be back on Earth following an epic life and death struggle to survive the effects of an explosion that rocked their… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Columbia Into Space

Thirty-seven years ago today, the United States successfully launched the Space Shuttle Columbia into orbit around the Earth. It was the maiden flight of the Nation’s Space Transportation System (STS). The Space Shuttle was unlike any manned space vehicle ever flown. A giant aircraft known as the Orbiter was side-mounted… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: The Lady Be Good

Seventy-five years ago today, a USAAF/Consolidated B-24D Liberator and her crew vanished upon return from their first bombing mission over Italy. Known as the Lady Be Good, the hulk of the ill-fated aircraft was found sixteen years later lying deep in the Libyan desert more than 400 miles south of… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

Hypersonic Propulsion Milestone

Fourteen years ago today, the NASA X-43A scramjet-powered flight research vehicle reached a record speed of over 4,600 mph (Mach 6.83). The test marked the first time in the annals of aviation that a flight-scale scramjet accelerated an aircraft in the hypersonic Mach number regime. NASA initiated a technology demonstration… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Fast Mover

Fifty-six years ago this month, a USAF/Convair B-58A Hustler from the 43rd Bomb Wing at Carswell AFB, Texas set a trio of transcontinental speed records in a round trip from Los Angeles to New York and back. This historic feat was accomplished as part of Operation Heat Rise. The USAF/Convair… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Emergency in Orbit

Fifty-two years ago this week, the crew of Gemini VIII successfully regained control of their tumbling spacecraft following failure of an attitude control system thruster. The incident marked the first life-threatening on-orbit emergency and resulting mission abort in the history of American manned spaceflight. Gemini VIII was the sixth manned… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

First True Spaceship

Forty-nine years ago this month, the Apollo Lunar Module (LM) was flown by an astronaut crew in space for the first time during the Apollo 9 earth-orbital mission. This technological achievement was critical to the success of the first lunar landing mission which occurred a little over 4 months later.… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Setting the Standard

Ten years ago this month, a United States Navy STANDARD Missile SM-3 Block IA interceptor engaged and destroyed a defunct NRO satellite at an altitude of 133 nautical miles. The relative velocity at intercept was in excess of 22,000 mph. The United States Navy/Raytheon Missile Systems SM-3 (RIM-161) is the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History
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