aviation

Twice the Speed of Sound

Twice the Speed of Sound

On November 20, 1953, Albert Scott Crossfield became the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound as he piloted the Douglass D-588-ii Skyrocket to a speed of 2,078 km/h, Mach 2.005. Albert Scott Crossfield was born on October 2, 1921 in California and grew up in California and Washington. He served with the U.S. Navy as a flight instructor and fighter pilot during World War II and worked…
The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

On November 16, 2004, the unmanned experimental hypersonic aircraft NASA X-43A set a new speed record of 10,617 km/h or Mach 9.65. With this flight the X-43A became the fastest free flying air-breathing aircraft in the world. The X-43A was propelled by a so-called scramjet, is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing jet engine in which combustion takes place in supersonic airflow. NASA’s Hyper-X program, involving the American space agency and contractors…
Jacques Charles and the Hydrogen Balloon

Jacques Charles and the Hydrogen Balloon

On November 12, 1746, French inventor, scientist, mathematician, and balloonist Jacques Alexandre César Charles was born. Charles and the Robert brothers launched the world‘s first (unmanned) hydrogen-filled balloon in August 1783. In December 1783, Charles and his co-pilot Nicolas-Louis Robert ascended to a height of about 500 metres in a manned balloon. Their pioneering use of hydrogen for lift led to this type of balloon being named a Charlière (as opposed…
The Dornier Do X – the World’s Largest Seaplane

The Dornier Do X – the World’s Largest Seaplane

On November 5, 1930, the Dornier Do X, the largest, heaviest, and most powerful flying boat in the world took off for a demonstration test flight to the Netherlands, England, France, Spain, and Portugal. After a delay due to technical problems, the Do X continued her journey to Cape Verde and Brazil to finally reach New York on August 27, 1931. The Flugschiff (flying ship) Dornier Do X was launched…
Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

On October 26, 1877, Italian aviation pioneer Gaetano Arturo Crocco was born. He was the founder of the Italian Rocket Society, and went on to become Italy’s leading space scientist. As head of the School of Aeronautics of the University of Rome, he performed research on flight mechanics, structural design, and high altitude flight in addition to his work in rocket propulsion. Gaetano Crocco was born in Naples in 1877 and…
Samuel Cody and the First Flight in England

Samuel Cody and the First Flight in England

On October 16, 1908, Wild West showman and early pioneer of manned flight Samuel Cody succeeded with the first officially recorded powered flight in England with a length of 420 metres. Samuel Cody was born Samuel Franklin Cowdery in 1867 in Davenport, Iowa and attended school until he was probably 12. Not much is known about the early life of Cody, but he later told that he lived the life…
Luna 3 and the Far Side of the Moon

Luna 3 and the Far Side of the Moon

On October 7, 1959, Soviet spacecraft Luna 3 for the very first time photographed the far side of the Moon. Though it returned rather poor pictures by later standards, the historic, never-before-seen views of the far side of the Moon caused excitement and interest when they were published around the world, and a tentative Atlas of the Far Side of the Moon was created after image processing improved the pictures.…
How Pyotr Nesterov invented Aerobatics

How Pyotr Nesterov invented Aerobatics

On September 9, 1913, Russian pilot, an aircraft technical designer and aerobatics pioneer Pyotr Nesterov became the first pilot to fly a loop in a Nieuport IV monoplane. His achievement made him famous overnight. Stressing the value of these exercises for a military pilot, Nesterov improved Russian flight methods and designed new flight models. Pyotr Nesterov was born in 1887 into the family of an army officer. Nesterov first attended…
Rocket Launch Site Cape Canaveral

Rocket Launch Site Cape Canaveral

On July 24, 1950, Bumper 8, a modified German World War II V-2 rocket, became the first ever rocket to be launched from Cape Canaveral. Cape Canaveral already became the test site for missiles the year before, and was chosen for rocket launches to take advantage of the Earth’s rotation, because of its southern location. In 1949, U.S. President Harry Truman established the Joint Long Range Proving Grounds at Cape Canaveral to test missiles. The…
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