AerospaceThe technology and science of commercial and military air and space flight
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While the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter continues its struggle with budget politics, the test program marches along. On Wednesday the F-35C—the version designed for aircraft carriers—made its first catapult launch during a ground test at Naval Air Systems Command in Lakehurst, New Jersey, with Navy test pilot Lt. Chris Tabert at the controls. Ship [...]
July 29, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
An Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker may haul more than 31,000 gallons to refuel other aircraft, but for long-haul missions, it needs to watch every drop of its own fuel. That’s why, when a KC-135 crew flew from Washington state to Kyrgyzstan over the North Pole last month, the Air Force brass was pumped. It wasn’t [...]
July 28, 2011 | By Roger Mola
The shuttle has retired, but the astronauts haven’t.
July 26, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The Transportation Security Administration has finally faced the naked truth. After the agency’s advanced imaging technology (AIT) airport scanners stirred controversy by exposing too much of a passenger’s human form, the TSA will switch to new software that makes the images less realistic. Screening agents—who had been isolated in a remote closet to view the [...]
July 25, 2011 | By Roger Mola
The space shuttle has been well eulogized in recent weeks, and we’ve already said our own farewells in print and on the web. So no need for another Grand Tribute. Still….I can’t resist a couple of parting thoughts on this final day of the 30-year shuttle program. The safety of the shuttle can be debated, [...]
July 21, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
I learn something new about the astronaut business on every mission. During their spacewalk last week, space station residents Mike Fossum and Ron Garan did some whistling while they were inside the Quest airlock in their spacesuits, waiting for the pressure to drop before heading outside. I’ve queued this video up to the whistling sequence, [...]
July 20, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Today is the 42nd anniversary of man’s landing on the Moon. The first step on the Moon – the step that “divided history” to use the words of the time – and the planting of the American flag there seems like a lifetime ago. As a matter of fact, it was. Tomorrow, the Space Shuttle [...]
July 19, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
“The Battle of Midway was probably the most important battle in the Pacific war during World War II,” says Russell Lee, a curator in the aeronautics division at the National Air and Space Museum. “On that day, American carrier forces defeated the Japanese, and stopped permanently their westward expansion.” Prior to the battle, Japan possessed [...]
July 14, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
“How does it feel to be part of history?” some reporter asked the STS-135 astronauts during an onboard press conference this afternoon. Well, some days probably feel more historic than others. Yesterday, for example, space station astronaut Ron Garan was on a spacewalk (above), wrestling a refrigerator-size piece of hardware into the shuttle cargo bay [...]
July 13, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
A few observations about the STS-135 shuttle astronauts, the last people to fly the 30-year-old spaceplane into orbit. By accident or design, the crew comes from a mixed military background, with one each from the Navy (commander Chris Ferguson), Marines (pilot Doug Hurley), and Air Force (mission specialist Rex Walheim). The other MS, Sandy Magnus, [...]
July 09, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The space shuttle’s final liftoff. Still hard to write those words.
July 08, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Astronauts show a lighter side in their unofficial crew posters.
July 08, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Highlights from America's longest-lived space program.
July 08, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
One thing that’s sure to rise at Cape Canaveral over the next 24 hours—beside space shuttle Atlantis, which is due to lift off on Friday morning if the weather cooperates—is the price of a ticket to view the launch. Up to a million pairs of eyes are predicted to be on hand for the shuttle’s [...]
July 07, 2011 | By Roger Mola
Quick: What’s the strangest way to deliver mail that you can think of? By mule? On foot? By ship? By airplane? How about by missile? That’s right. More than one person thought delivering packages by rocket was an excellent idea. Our neighbor, the National Postal Museum, notes that Austria and Germany were the first countries [...]
July 01, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Take a fantasy flight in a real, live Liberator.
July 2011 | By Stephen Joiner
In a new autobiography, an Apollo 15 pilot tells what it was like to fly solo.
July 2011 | By Al Worden With Francis French
A remote-controlled airplane, a camera, and a pair of goggles can put you in the (virtual) pilot's seat for as little as $500.
July 2011 | By Mark Betancourt
Military aviation prepares for the inevitable.
July 2011 | By Michael Milstein
Donald Hall's 1927 rush job.
July 2011 | By Tom Leech