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Columbia’s First Reentry

Forty years ago today, the Space Shuttle Columbia successfully returned from its first earth-orbital mission.  An estimated 225,000 people witnessed the historic landing on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Known officially as the Space Transportation System (STS), the Space Shuttle was unlike any manned space vehicle… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

America’s First Orbital Flight

Fifty-nine years ago today, Project Mercury Astronaut John Herschel Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn’s spacecraft name and mission call sign was Friendship 7. Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) lifted-off from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 14 at 14:47:39 UTC on Tuesday, 20 February 1962. It was the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Uncategorized

Apollo AS-204 Fire

Fifty-four years ago this month the Apollo 204 prime crew perished as fire swept through their Apollo Block I Command Module (CM). The Apollo 204 crew of Command Pilot Vigil I. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee had been scheduled to make the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

In the Beginning

Fifty-two years ago today, three American astronauts departed Earth to become the first men to orbit the Moon during the flight of Apollo 8. This epic mission also featured the first manned flight of the mighty Saturn V launch vehicle as well as history’s first super-orbital entry of a manned… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Wright Stuff

One-hundred and seventeen years ago to the day, 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… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Terror in the Stratosphere

Sixty-seven years ago this month, USAF Major Charles E. Yeager set an unofficial world speed record of 1,650 mph (Mach 2.44) in the Bell X-1A flight research aircraft. In the process, the legendary test pilot very nearly lost his life when the aircraft departed controlled flight shortly after rocket motor… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Ultimate Zoom Flight

Fifty-seven years ago today, 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 which aircraft… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: Bell X-2, Ship One

Sixty-four 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, triumph 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

Entering Space

Sixty-four 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

Moving Target

Thirty-five years ago this month, 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… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History