aviation

Reaching the edge of outer space – the X-15 Rocket Plane

Reaching the edge of outer space – the X-15 Rocket Plane

On October 3, 1967, the X-15 rocket plane achieved a world record speed of Mach 6.7, which is 7,274 km/h (4,520 mph or over a mile per second) with U.S. Air Force pilot Pete Knight. As by today, this record still holds for the highest speed ever reached by a manned, powered aircraft. Among the notable pilots of the X-15 was also Neil Armstrong, later a NASA astronaut and first man to set…
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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 the military…
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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 location had…
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Salomon August Andrée’s Ill-Fated Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897

Salomon August Andrée’s Ill-Fated Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897

On July 13, 1897, the balloon of S. A. Andrée’s Arctic Balloon Expeditions crashed on the pack ice. S. A. Andrée, the first Swedish balloonist, proposed a voyage by hydrogen balloon from Svalbard, Sweden to either Russia or Canada, which was to pass, with luck, straight over the North Pole on the way. Unfortunately, Andrée did not succeed, disregarding the forces of nature in the series of events that led to his death and those of his two companions…
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Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin and his Rigid Dirigible Airships

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin and his Rigid Dirigible Airships

On July 8, 1838, German aviation pioneer Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born. After retiring from his military carreer, he built the first rigid dirigible airships, named Zeppelin, and founded the Zeppelin airship company. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin attended the military academy at Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart and became an officer in the army of Württemberg. In 1858 he became a lieutenant in the Württemberg Army and in the same year was on…
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Hubertus Strughold – the Father of Space Medicine

Hubertus Strughold – the Father of Space Medicine

On June 15, 1898, German-born physiologist and prominent medical researcher Hubertus Strughold was born. For his role in pioneering the study of the physical and psychological effects of manned spaceflight he became known as “The Father of Space Medicine“. In the late 1920’s, he began investigating the physiological aspects of what he called the “vertical frontier” in Germany. He served as chief of Aeromedical Research for the German Luftwaffe throughout World War…
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Henri Farman and the first long-distance Passenger Airliner

Henri Farman and the first long-distance Passenger Airliner

On May 26, 1876, Anglo-French pilot, aviator and aircraft designer and manufacturer Henri Farman was born. As an aircraft designer he developed ailerons to solve the enormously difficult and dangerous problems of lateral control. The Farman “Goliath” produced by his aircraft manufacturing company was the first long-distance passenger airliner, beginning regular Paris–London flights on 8 Feb 1919. Henri Farman was born in 1876 in Paris. His family was quite well situated with…
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Richard E. Byrd, Jr. – Aviator and Polar Explorer

Richard E. Byrd, Jr. – Aviator and Polar Explorer

On March 11, 1957, US-American explorer and aviator Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. passed away. He claimed to be the first man to fly over both of the Earth’s poles. Richard Evelyn Byrd was born in 1888 and entered the United States Navy Academy at the age of 20. It is assumed that his passion for aviation evolved during World War I when he learned how to fly. Soon, Byrd became a flight instructor for the…
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Samuel Pierpont Langley and his Aviation Work

Samuel Pierpont Langley and his Aviation Work

On February 27, 1906, American astronomer, physicist, inventor of the bolometer and pioneer of aviation Samuel Pierpont Langley passed away. Langley attempted to make a working piloted heavier-than-air aircraft. His models flew, but his two attempts at piloted flight were not successful. Samuel Pierpont Langley was born in 1834 in Roxbury. He started his education at the Boston Latin School and was interested in astronomy immediately. His brother helped him to build instruments and…
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Octave Chanute – One of the Fathers of Aviation

Octave Chanute – One of the Fathers of Aviation

On February 18, 1832, French-born American railway engineer and aviation pioneer Octave A. Chanute was born. He provided many budding enthusiasts, including the Wright brothers with help and advice, and helped to publicize their flying experiments. At his death he was hailed as the father of aviation and the heavier-than-air flying machine. Immigrating to the United States with his father in 1838, Chanute attended private schools in New York City. His first…
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