SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.      SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.

     SR-71A 17975 rests proudly on display at March Field Air Museum located across the flightline from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California. Her first flight took place on April 13, 1967, accumulating 2,854 hours of flight time, 743 of which were over Mach 3. She flew 82 reconnaissance missions during during Vietnam, flying out of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan. 17975 also served over the Persian Gulf, where she threw a turbine blade through the right engine nacelle while outrunning a surface to air missile. She diverted to Naval Air Station Key West, much to the surprise of the local airman.

     This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.      This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.
     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.
     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 
     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.

     This rocket sled, now on display at the Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was constructed to help solve a big problem. The B-58 Hustler, introduced in 1956, was the first operational supersonic bomber, cruising at Mach 2 and 70,000 feet. The aircraft used traditional ejection seats, which certainly would have been fatal at those speeds and altitudes. If some catastrophic event occurred, the crew would have been forced to ride the wreckage down to a safe altitude before ejecting. A solution was needed and our rocket sled played a key role in refining a safe method for high speed, high altitude bailout.

     Different crew escape systems were fired from this sled as it sped at nearly 700 mph down a 4.1 mile track on Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The winning solution was an ejection capsule designed by Stanley Aircraft Corporation. This innovative design had clamshell style doors that would slam shut over the pilot, totally concealing him inside an airtight environment with its own dedicated oxygen supply. Inside the pod, the pilot could still fly the aircraft, viewing through a small window in the clamshell doors. If need be, the crew could fire the capsule from the aircraft, then descend safely under canopy with survival gear in tow. If the pod landed in water, flotation devices could be manually inflated by the crew. The clamshell doors could then be opened and the pod would double as a life raft.

     Tests were first performed from the rocket sled, then in the air, cruising at supersonic speeds. Live chimpanzees and bears served as test subjects. In fact, the first live supersonic ejection in history was performed by a two year old female black bear named Yogi. 

     Operational B-58 aircraft were retrofitted with these escape capsules in late 1962, making it a much safer system. Our rocket sled was used for other projects at Holloman once B-58 testing was complete.

     The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.      The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.
     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.
     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.
     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.
     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 
     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.
     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.
     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.

     The Pratt & Whitney J58 engine, coupled with the world’s most complex air inlet system, propelled the Blackbird aircraft seamlessly through an enormous range of speeds. Originally, she was a Navy project designed to power the Martin P6M SeaMaster flying boat. She would eventually be painstakingly adapted to work at Mach 3+ flight and see operation in something very different than a seaplane.

     The Blackbird aircraft is constructed of over 90% titanium. The engines, however, used materials which could withstand even higher temperatures. Pratt & Whitney turned to exotic nickel and cobalt-based alloys, like Inconel X (which was also be used in the skin of the X-15 rocket plane, Mercury Spacecraft and Apollo F-1 Engine combustion chamber), with some of these materials experiencing operating temperatures of 1,600 °F. Fluid lines were plated with gold or silver. The exhaust ejector was coated with a thermal insulating ceramic which would reach 3,200 °F, undergoing so much heat and pressure that it would never char.

     When the J58 fires its afterburner, the whole aft end of the engine glows orange like molten lava. These materials allowed the J58 to operate in afterburner indefinitely, which was required for Mach 3+ cruise. Most aircraft can not continuously operate the afterburner for more than a few minutes at a time without suffering a catastrophic failure.

     During development, engineers searched high and low to find a lubricant that could operate under such a wide range of temperatures. Finally, a silicone-based grease was found, which had the consistency of thick peanut butter at room temperature. Before engine start, this grease was preheated to further liquify it. For engine start, the J58 required the assistance of two Buick V-8 or Chevy Big Block housed in a start cart on the ground.

     When the Blackbird cruised at Mach 3+, the compression of the air would cause incredible heating over the entire aircraft. The fuel inside the tanks would reach 350 °F. Normal JP-4 fuel would foam and possibly combust at these temperatures, so a special JP-7 fuel was developed with a special high flash point. Because of this high flash point, the J58 had a unique starting method. When the start cart had the engine spinning, a shot of Triethylborane (TEB) was injected into the combustion chamber. When TEB touches air, it explodes, which would cause the fuel in the engine to ignite, initiating engine start. Every time the pilot moved the throttle forward from idle, a shot of TEB was introduced into the combustion chamber. Additionally, every time the throttle was moved forward from full military power, teb was fired into the exhaust section of the engine to ignite the afterburner. 

     One of the most amazing parts of this engine is its compressor bypass system. When the aircraft flies at more than Mach 2.2, a series of large bypass tubes allow air from the inlet to bypass the compressor section, feeding it straight into the afterburner section, creating the majority of the engine’s thrust. However, this is not a true ramjet because even with these bypass tubes operate, air still flows through the compressor and combustion sections in a traditional manor. With these two concepts working together, we call the J58 a Turboramjet.

     The J58 could not do its job without an incredible inlet system. A supersonic shock wave builds up on the tip of the iconic cone that protrudes from the inlet. We call this cone a ‘spike’. Once air enters the inlet, it is forced into a system of shockwaves, diffusing the supersonic air, slowing the air to subsonic speed. This process creates a huge increase in air pressure, which can be fed into the engine, increasing its power and efficiency. This process is called pressure recovery. At Mach 1.6, the system of shockwaves inside the engine is optimized for maximum pressure recovery. When the aircraft accelerates faster than Mach 1.6, the spike has to retract into the inlet to properly shape balance the shockwaves to continue optimal pressure recovery through a range of speeds. The spike retracts 1.6” for each additional 0.1 Mach, and is retracted a total of 26” at full speed, Mach 3.2.

     Thanks to the wonderful Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas for allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this J58.
     Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.      Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.      Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.      Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.      Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.      Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.      Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.      Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.      Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.
     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.
     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.

     Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center was built to serve the Apollo Program. It consists of four different firing rooms, each with a unique story to tell. Firing Room 4 wasn’t used for a launch until late into the Shuttle Program. After undergoing extensive renovation to modernize its infrastructure in 2006, this room served the final 15 shuttle launches. STS-135 may have been the most emotional.

     On July 8, 2011, Launch Director Michael Leinbach peered over his room full of more than 200 steely-eyed launch controllers. “Ok, guys. Let’s get ready. We’re gonna go.” They were preparing to launch STS-135, the final shuttle mission. Many of the controllers choked back tears as the countdown clock neared zero. Emotions ran high, but they didn’t have much time to reflect on these feelings. Leinbach gazed through the windows of Firing Room 4, peering over 3.5 miles of swampy terrain that separates Launch Control from Pad 39A, where Space Shuttle Atlantis sat. He seemed to be deep in thought, wistfully saying, “It’s a nice day to launch a shuttle.” The countdown was allowed to progress and the big moment came. Atlantis’s firing chain was armed and her three main engines ignited. Controllers watched with bated breath as Atlantis strained against explosive bolts that held her to the pad. Solid rocket motors ignited, marking the point of no return. Her hold-down bolts were sheared and Atlantis was set free to leap into the air. She rose above the pad, finally clearing the launch tower service structure. At this point, responsibility for the mission was handed off to Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This room could now begin conversion for its next chapter.

     Firing Room 4 is now undergoing renovation to serve NASA’s private and commercial clients. It is being adapted for use with a multitude of launch vehicles and spacecraft. Only time will tell what stories will unfold in this room.

October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. October 9, 2014
     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.
     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.
     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.
     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center.

October 9, 2014

     Fifteen years ago today, this aircraft, SR-71A 17980, wrote the final chapter of the most amazing story in aviation history. On October 9, 1999, during an Edwards Air Force Base open house, she performed the last flight of any Blackbird aircraft. Several hundred spectators peered across desert scrub and joshua trees as 17980 began her final takeoff roll. A mirage hugged the earth, seemingly distorting the aircraft as she accelerated across the runway. A NASA F/A-18 Hornet joined her flank just before liftoff. The roar of the chase plane was completely overpowered by the Blackbird’s two massive J58 engines in afterburner, shaking the tarmac underneath. When the aircraft rotated and flew into the sky, spectators applauded, none of them knowing that this was the last time any Blackbird would depart the confines of gravity.

     Over the course of 30 minutes, 17980 climbed out of sight to an altitude of roughly 80,000 feet. Spectators waited on the ground as the announcer explained that she would soon pass overhead at triplesonic speed. The decision was made to dump fuel as they passed, creating what looked like a thin white contrail behind the aircraft, acting as a visual marker for onlookers. The announcer warned, “From those altitudes, the sonic boom is relatively soft and sometimes, if the atmospheric conditions are just right, the boom does not make it to the ground.” Not a second after he made this statement, a distinct, satisfying thump was heard and felt by every audience member. 17980 would never miss her last opportunity to drag a sonic shockwave across astonished onlookers.

     Our Blackbird descended and made three low passes for the audience, gleaming in the bright sunlight of the California High Desert. She touched down, deployed her dragchute and gracefully taxied to her parking area. A flight was scheduled for the next day, but an inordinate fuel leak was discovered, grounding the aircraft. She would never fly again, making a bittersweet end to all Blackbird flights.

     17980 continues to gleam in the California desert sun, albeit silently, day in and day out, proudly on display by the main gate of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center.

October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event. October 9, 2014
     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.
     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.
     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”
     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”
     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.
     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 
     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event.

October 9, 2014

     Two years ago this week, Endeavour was transported to the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This was only the first step of a still evolving museum exhibit. Endeavour is now temporarily displayed in landing configuration. Eventually, she will be displayed in launch configuration with a payload bay door open. Spacehab Module, a component which was originally conceived to allow tourists a ride aboard the shuttle, will be on display inside the payload bay just as it flew on STS-118. Although Spacehab never flew as a tourist attraction, it was used as an astronaut workshop, residing in the payload bay when spare room was available. Today, during an event called “Go for Payload”, Spacehab was loaded into the open bay. Opening the bay doors in the first place was quite a feat; this was the first time it had been done outside Kennedy Space Center. They’re quite fragile, designed to operate in microgravity.

     Go for Payload kicked off with a talk from astronaut Barbara Morgan, who was Christa McAuliffe’s backup as the Teacher in Space. Barbara was passionate enough about space to continue to pursue a spaceflight career after the tragic flight of Challenger, and the cancellation of the Teacher in Space Program. In 2007, she flew aboard Endeavour during STS-118 and became the first educator in space. Personally, I can think of no more inspiring story.

     Barbara, shown in the second photo, told a story of visiting the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in 2012 after the shuttles retired. The VAB was totally empty except for Endeavour, alone in the corner, covered in visqueen with her nose removed and avionics all stripped out. This sight made Barbara cry. This was the last time she saw her ship until Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, fully assembled, full of life and shining like a diamond. Barbara was excited to attend Go for Payload and said, “This feels like coming home.” Barbara said, "Endeavour was actually the replacement orbiter for Challenger. As we all know, Challenger was a mission for education…I want you to know, she’s where she belongs, carrying on that mission of education.”

     After Barbara’s keynote, it was time to lift Spacehab. I joined California Science Center’s curator, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, shown in the third photo, to watch the big moment. Kenneth was majorly responsible for Endeavour finding its home at the Science Center. I asked how he was feeling as we watched the 6,000 lb Spacehab Module precariously lifted above the orbiter. He said, “Optimistic, but very cautiously optimistic. These are great guys, they know what they’re doing. Whenever you handle an artifact, it can be nerve wracking.”

     During the lift, I joined Barbara for a chat. We spoke about my father’s involvement in the Teacher in Space Program, that he was an applicant. Coincidentally, Barbara and I are both from Idaho, and we talked about our similar small town lives. She had a lot of questions about my life in Idaho and what I was doing now. Barbara was so personable and kind. NASA tends to pick good people to send into space.

     Over the course of the next hour, Spacehab found its place in Endeavour’s payload bay. Kenneth told me that he felt a lot better, and that his crew was the best in the world. 

     It was quite a privilege to attend and witness Go for Payload. Big thanks to California Science Center for inviting Project Habu to the event.

     It’s not every day you actually hold a fragment of history in your hand. This scrap once pierced the sky at Mach 3 over the High Desert of California. Here, we have a piece of XB-70A 62-0207 wreckage. It tells a tale of radical design, extreme piloting and tragic loss, which sadly is a story often told in the business of flight test.
     Where to start when telling the story of a supersonic bomber test aircraft? We could begin on August 27, 1939, when Erich Warsitz willed his Heinkel He 178 into the air, marking the beginning of the jet age. Or we could start with Italian Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti, who dropped a hand grenade from his Etrich Taube monoplane in 1911, not eight years after the birth of powered flight, effectively becoming the first bomber pilot. Digging further, we could reflect upon the first successful test flight of a powered aircraft, which took place on December 17, 1903, when Orville Wright first took to the air. 
     It would be appropriate to start with the construction of this particular aircraft, XB-70 62-0207. She was the second of only two XB-70 aircraft ever made. The first, XB-70 62-0001, had only flown at Mach 3 once, and nearly tore itself apart in trying. There were serious design problems with this first prototype, and the second was meant to solve them. It would prove the concept of a Mach 3 bomber with a payload capability equivalent to a B-52’s. North American hoped that this could convince the military to purchase a production run of B-70 aircraft.
     XB-70 62-0207 first flew out of Palmdale, California on July 17, 1965, and first broke Mach 3 on January 3, 1966. She could safely maintain her top speed, unlike XB-70 62-0001, due to better quality control in manufacturing sandwiched honeycomb panels used for dissipating heat. This second aircraft also had an increase in wing dihedral of positive 5°. She set the altitude record for the XB-70 program at 74,000 feet. 
     On June 8, 1966, tragedy struck. After performing a routine supersonic test flight, Al White and Carl Cross manouvered XB-70 62-0207 into formation with four other aircraft for a photoshoot. An F-104 flew just to the right of the bomber, piloted by chief NASA test pilot Joseph Walker. The formation flew safely for 40 minutes before Walker’s F-104 entered the XB-70’s wingtip vortex and suddenly collided with the Bomber. The F-104 burst into flames and plunged into the ground below, taking Walker’s life. The crippled XB-70, after having lost its right wingtip and vertical stabilizers in the incident, went into a violent spin toward the earth. Al White successfully bailed out, but his arm was mangled by the clamshell escape capsule doors as they slammed prior to ejection. The XB-70 hit the desert floor and exploded, tragically taking Carl Cross with it.
     This fragment of titanium rested on the desert floor until 1989, when Tony Moore finally found the crash site after an exhaustive effort. He eventually teamed up with Peter Merlin to uncover many more sites like this. Their incredible work is showcased at http://thexhunters.com/.
     There’s another chapter to this story that I mustn’t neglect. I recently applied to work as a docent at Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale and at the Air Force Flight Test Museum on Edwards Air Force Base. I opted to deliver my application to museum in person, where I met Tony Moore. We talked for a good while about various wreckage. He had several pieces of XB-70 62-0207 in the office, and was generous enough to let me examine them with my own eyes and hands. If this wasn’t thrilling enough, he offered to let me keep this piece. I was taken aback, unable to thank him enough. Somehow, he must have detected how much I would appreciate this treasure. And I certainly do. Thank you, Tony, for your generosity.      It’s not every day you actually hold a fragment of history in your hand. This scrap once pierced the sky at Mach 3 over the High Desert of California. Here, we have a piece of XB-70A 62-0207 wreckage. It tells a tale of radical design, extreme piloting and tragic loss, which sadly is a story often told in the business of flight test.
     Where to start when telling the story of a supersonic bomber test aircraft? We could begin on August 27, 1939, when Erich Warsitz willed his Heinkel He 178 into the air, marking the beginning of the jet age. Or we could start with Italian Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti, who dropped a hand grenade from his Etrich Taube monoplane in 1911, not eight years after the birth of powered flight, effectively becoming the first bomber pilot. Digging further, we could reflect upon the first successful test flight of a powered aircraft, which took place on December 17, 1903, when Orville Wright first took to the air. 
     It would be appropriate to start with the construction of this particular aircraft, XB-70 62-0207. She was the second of only two XB-70 aircraft ever made. The first, XB-70 62-0001, had only flown at Mach 3 once, and nearly tore itself apart in trying. There were serious design problems with this first prototype, and the second was meant to solve them. It would prove the concept of a Mach 3 bomber with a payload capability equivalent to a B-52’s. North American hoped that this could convince the military to purchase a production run of B-70 aircraft.
     XB-70 62-0207 first flew out of Palmdale, California on July 17, 1965, and first broke Mach 3 on January 3, 1966. She could safely maintain her top speed, unlike XB-70 62-0001, due to better quality control in manufacturing sandwiched honeycomb panels used for dissipating heat. This second aircraft also had an increase in wing dihedral of positive 5°. She set the altitude record for the XB-70 program at 74,000 feet. 
     On June 8, 1966, tragedy struck. After performing a routine supersonic test flight, Al White and Carl Cross manouvered XB-70 62-0207 into formation with four other aircraft for a photoshoot. An F-104 flew just to the right of the bomber, piloted by chief NASA test pilot Joseph Walker. The formation flew safely for 40 minutes before Walker’s F-104 entered the XB-70’s wingtip vortex and suddenly collided with the Bomber. The F-104 burst into flames and plunged into the ground below, taking Walker’s life. The crippled XB-70, after having lost its right wingtip and vertical stabilizers in the incident, went into a violent spin toward the earth. Al White successfully bailed out, but his arm was mangled by the clamshell escape capsule doors as they slammed prior to ejection. The XB-70 hit the desert floor and exploded, tragically taking Carl Cross with it.
     This fragment of titanium rested on the desert floor until 1989, when Tony Moore finally found the crash site after an exhaustive effort. He eventually teamed up with Peter Merlin to uncover many more sites like this. Their incredible work is showcased at http://thexhunters.com/.
     There’s another chapter to this story that I mustn’t neglect. I recently applied to work as a docent at Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale and at the Air Force Flight Test Museum on Edwards Air Force Base. I opted to deliver my application to museum in person, where I met Tony Moore. We talked for a good while about various wreckage. He had several pieces of XB-70 62-0207 in the office, and was generous enough to let me examine them with my own eyes and hands. If this wasn’t thrilling enough, he offered to let me keep this piece. I was taken aback, unable to thank him enough. Somehow, he must have detected how much I would appreciate this treasure. And I certainly do. Thank you, Tony, for your generosity.      It’s not every day you actually hold a fragment of history in your hand. This scrap once pierced the sky at Mach 3 over the High Desert of California. Here, we have a piece of XB-70A 62-0207 wreckage. It tells a tale of radical design, extreme piloting and tragic loss, which sadly is a story often told in the business of flight test.
     Where to start when telling the story of a supersonic bomber test aircraft? We could begin on August 27, 1939, when Erich Warsitz willed his Heinkel He 178 into the air, marking the beginning of the jet age. Or we could start with Italian Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti, who dropped a hand grenade from his Etrich Taube monoplane in 1911, not eight years after the birth of powered flight, effectively becoming the first bomber pilot. Digging further, we could reflect upon the first successful test flight of a powered aircraft, which took place on December 17, 1903, when Orville Wright first took to the air. 
     It would be appropriate to start with the construction of this particular aircraft, XB-70 62-0207. She was the second of only two XB-70 aircraft ever made. The first, XB-70 62-0001, had only flown at Mach 3 once, and nearly tore itself apart in trying. There were serious design problems with this first prototype, and the second was meant to solve them. It would prove the concept of a Mach 3 bomber with a payload capability equivalent to a B-52’s. North American hoped that this could convince the military to purchase a production run of B-70 aircraft.
     XB-70 62-0207 first flew out of Palmdale, California on July 17, 1965, and first broke Mach 3 on January 3, 1966. She could safely maintain her top speed, unlike XB-70 62-0001, due to better quality control in manufacturing sandwiched honeycomb panels used for dissipating heat. This second aircraft also had an increase in wing dihedral of positive 5°. She set the altitude record for the XB-70 program at 74,000 feet. 
     On June 8, 1966, tragedy struck. After performing a routine supersonic test flight, Al White and Carl Cross manouvered XB-70 62-0207 into formation with four other aircraft for a photoshoot. An F-104 flew just to the right of the bomber, piloted by chief NASA test pilot Joseph Walker. The formation flew safely for 40 minutes before Walker’s F-104 entered the XB-70’s wingtip vortex and suddenly collided with the Bomber. The F-104 burst into flames and plunged into the ground below, taking Walker’s life. The crippled XB-70, after having lost its right wingtip and vertical stabilizers in the incident, went into a violent spin toward the earth. Al White successfully bailed out, but his arm was mangled by the clamshell escape capsule doors as they slammed prior to ejection. The XB-70 hit the desert floor and exploded, tragically taking Carl Cross with it.
     This fragment of titanium rested on the desert floor until 1989, when Tony Moore finally found the crash site after an exhaustive effort. He eventually teamed up with Peter Merlin to uncover many more sites like this. Their incredible work is showcased at http://thexhunters.com/.
     There’s another chapter to this story that I mustn’t neglect. I recently applied to work as a docent at Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale and at the Air Force Flight Test Museum on Edwards Air Force Base. I opted to deliver my application to museum in person, where I met Tony Moore. We talked for a good while about various wreckage. He had several pieces of XB-70 62-0207 in the office, and was generous enough to let me examine them with my own eyes and hands. If this wasn’t thrilling enough, he offered to let me keep this piece. I was taken aback, unable to thank him enough. Somehow, he must have detected how much I would appreciate this treasure. And I certainly do. Thank you, Tony, for your generosity.

     It’s not every day you actually hold a fragment of history in your hand. This scrap once pierced the sky at Mach 3 over the High Desert of California. Here, we have a piece of XB-70A 62-0207 wreckage. It tells a tale of radical design, extreme piloting and tragic loss, which sadly is a story often told in the business of flight test.

     Where to start when telling the story of a supersonic bomber test aircraft? We could begin on August 27, 1939, when Erich Warsitz willed his Heinkel He 178 into the air, marking the beginning of the jet age. Or we could start with Italian Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti, who dropped a hand grenade from his Etrich Taube monoplane in 1911, not eight years after the birth of powered flight, effectively becoming the first bomber pilot. Digging further, we could reflect upon the first successful test flight of a powered aircraft, which took place on December 17, 1903, when Orville Wright first took to the air. 

     It would be appropriate to start with the construction of this particular aircraft, XB-70 62-0207. She was the second of only two XB-70 aircraft ever made. The first, XB-70 62-0001, had only flown at Mach 3 once, and nearly tore itself apart in trying. There were serious design problems with this first prototype, and the second was meant to solve them. It would prove the concept of a Mach 3 bomber with a payload capability equivalent to a B-52’s. North American hoped that this could convince the military to purchase a production run of B-70 aircraft.

     XB-70 62-0207 first flew out of Palmdale, California on July 17, 1965, and first broke Mach 3 on January 3, 1966. She could safely maintain her top speed, unlike XB-70 62-0001, due to better quality control in manufacturing sandwiched honeycomb panels used for dissipating heat. This second aircraft also had an increase in wing dihedral of positive 5°. She set the altitude record for the XB-70 program at 74,000 feet. 

     On June 8, 1966, tragedy struck. After performing a routine supersonic test flight, Al White and Carl Cross manouvered XB-70 62-0207 into formation with four other aircraft for a photoshoot. An F-104 flew just to the right of the bomber, piloted by chief NASA test pilot Joseph Walker. The formation flew safely for 40 minutes before Walker’s F-104 entered the XB-70’s wingtip vortex and suddenly collided with the Bomber. The F-104 burst into flames and plunged into the ground below, taking Walker’s life. The crippled XB-70, after having lost its right wingtip and vertical stabilizers in the incident, went into a violent spin toward the earth. Al White successfully bailed out, but his arm was mangled by the clamshell escape capsule doors as they slammed prior to ejection. The XB-70 hit the desert floor and exploded, tragically taking Carl Cross with it.

     This fragment of titanium rested on the desert floor until 1989, when Tony Moore finally found the crash site after an exhaustive effort. He eventually teamed up with Peter Merlin to uncover many more sites like this. Their incredible work is showcased at http://thexhunters.com/.

     There’s another chapter to this story that I mustn’t neglect. I recently applied to work as a docent at Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale and at the Air Force Flight Test Museum on Edwards Air Force Base. I opted to deliver my application to museum in person, where I met Tony Moore. We talked for a good while about various wreckage. He had several pieces of XB-70 62-0207 in the office, and was generous enough to let me examine them with my own eyes and hands. If this wasn’t thrilling enough, he offered to let me keep this piece. I was taken aback, unable to thank him enough. Somehow, he must have detected how much I would appreciate this treasure. And I certainly do. Thank you, Tony, for your generosity.

     All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.      All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.      All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.      All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.      All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.      All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.      All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.      All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.      All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).
     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.
     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.

     All of the NASA Astronauts since the Gemini Program have trained in Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston, Texas, in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. About half of the facility currently consists of a full sized training replica of the International Space Station. NASA calls this the “Space Station Mockup Training Facility” (SSMTF).

     The SSMTF is used to get astronauts accustom to the systems and layout of the station. Some astronauts have admitted to being a little turned around at the beginning of their expeditions because the ISS is large and labyrinthian. So large, that during an expedition, an astronaut can sometimes go an entire day without seeing each of their crew mates. The SSMTF is used to train both astronauts and flight controllers in emergency procedures, maintenance and routine operations. It is also typically used to test new procedures before the crew performs them in flight.

     The final photo in the set shows the actual International Space Station in flight, as photographed from Southeast Idaho on June 21, 2007 at the tail end STS-117. At this point, the ISS was under construction, and was a fraction of its total size. Now, the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky behind the Sun and Moon, and can be easily seen when it passes overhead at night.

     There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.      There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?
     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.
     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.

     There are many significant dates associated with an aircraft. Manufacture date, first flight, last flight. SR-71A 17955 first went under construction on May 13, 1964. She first flew August 17, 1965, living her whole operational life as the resident Palmdale test aircraft, paving the way for safe operation of the rest of the Blackbird fleet. Her last flight took place on January 24, 1985, after 1993.7 hours of flight time. But what happens after the final flight? What important dates could remain?

     If we were talking about any other government aircraft, the next date I’d have to list is when she was transported to the 309th Aerospace and Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, also known as the Boneyard. There, she’d be parted out and used for spares to keep the rest of her fleet in the air, or chopped up by guillotine and recycled into razor blades. Fortunately, we aren’t talking about just any government aircraft. All 30 surviving Blackbird aircraft were spared from the boneyard and put on museum duty, where they can be viewed by the public indefinitely.

     April 3, 2002, SR-71A 17955 was towed through Edwards Air Force Base by a Peterbilt semi-truck and put on permanent display at the Air Force Flight Test Museum.

     The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.      The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.
     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.

     The most iconic 747 in the world; there is no more appropriate place for this aircraft than Palmdale, California. N911NA, the second of only two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), first flew for NASA in 1990 after being converted from a Japan Airline 747-100R. She was the second of only two SCA aircraft, initially used in 1991 to ferry the shiny new Endeavour orbiter from the Rockwell plant in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. She was based out of Palmdale, performing 66 space shuttle ferry flights.

     Her final flight brought her back to Palmdale on February 8, 2012. N911NA was stored at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and used to spare parts for N747NA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, California has the honor of displaying this bird as of September 12, 2014. She will still be used as a replacement part resource for the SOFIA aircraft.