Gemini-Titan 3 launch, 50 years ago today

The first crewed Gemini flight, Gemini III, lifted off Launch Pad 19 at 9:24 a.m. EST on March 23, 1965. The spacecraft “Molly Brown” carried astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, command pilot, and John W. Young, pilot, on three orbits of Earth. Gemini III’s primary goal was to test the new, maneuverable spacecraft. In space, the crew members fired thrusters to change the shape of their orbit, shift their orbital plane slightly, and drop to a lower altitude. The revolutionary orbital maneuvering technology paved the way for rendezvous missions later in the Gemini Program and proved it was possible for a lunar module to lift off the moon and dock with the lunar orbiting command module for the trip home to Earth. It also meant spacecraft could be launched to rendezvous and dock with an orbiting space station.


Airbus Helicopters reveals its new H160 helicopter

At Heli-Expo, Airbus Helicopters reveals its high-technology H160 helicopter. Development of the H160 began in 2013, with the definition of the final aircraft configuration confirmed this year. The helicopter’s first flight is planned to take place in 2015 and service entry is planned for 2018. The H160 is a medium helicopter that features:

  • Advanced rotor blade design.
  • Canted Fenestron.
  • New generation Tubomeca Arrano turboshaft engine.
  • Biplane stabilizer.
  • Electrical landing gear.
  • Composite airframe.
  • Helionix digital avionics.


Spectacular discoveries on Saturn’s moon Enceladus

Data from Cassini suggests that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has a deep ocean underneath its ice and hydrothermal activity.

Juperiter’s moon Ganymede probably also has an ocean.

Image credit: NASA JPL

Gulfstream G650 wins Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association has awarded Gulfstream the Collier Trophy for the G650 business jet. The Collier Trophy is the most prestigeous award in American aerospace.

Other nominees for the 2014 Collier Trophy were:

  • Alan Eustace and the StratEx Team
  • Embraer Legacy 500
  • F-16 Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance Team
  • General Aviation Joint Steering Committee
  • Orion Exploration Flight Test-1
  • Aurora Flight Sciences Orion UAS


Orbital ATK Successfully Complete QM-1 for the SLS Solid Rocket Booster


A big step forward for the Space Launch System.

Image credit: Orbital ATK

Originally posted on danspace77:

Video Credit & Copyright: NASA.

The largest, most powerful rocket booster ever built successfully fired up Wednesday for a major-milestone ground test in preparation for future missions to help propel NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft to deep space destinations, including an asteroid and Mars. The booster fired for two minutes, the same amount of time it will fire when it lifts the SLS off the launch pad, and produced about 3.6 million pounds of thrust. The test was conducted at the Promontory, Utah test facility of commercial partner Orbital ATK.

My writeup on QM-1:

View original

Dawn enters orbit around Ceres

The NASA Dawn spacecraft has entered orbit around Ceres, becoming the first man-made satellite of a dwarf plant.

Ceres, imaged by the Dawn spacecraft

Bombardier CS300 has first flight

Bombardier conducted the first flight of the CS300 airliner on February 27, 2015. The CS300 is a derivative of the CS100, which is also in flight test. The flight departed Bombardier’s facility in Mirabel, Québec. The crew was commanded by Andris Litavniks who was was assisted by co-pilot Christophe Marchand and flight test engineers Anthony Dunne and Mark Metivet.

Bombardier CS300 first flight 2s

Happy 100th birthday to NACA

Happy 100th birthday to NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which was in part the predecessor to NASA. NACA was formed on March 3, 1915. Nearly forgotten today, NACA research was critical to making the airplane a useful means of both transportation and national defense, instead of just being a cool toy. NACA research ranks up there with the Federal support of the R&D that led to the Information Age as a wise use of taxpayer money.


Fitzhugh L. Fulton Jr., 1925-2015

RIP, Fitz Fulton.

Fitzhugh Fulton was a renowned test pilot who flew for the US Air Force, NASA and Scaled Composites. Not only was he a giant in his field, but he was a true gentleman. When I was a 23-year old 2Lt flight test engineer, I had the opportunity to work with Fitz for a short period. Imagine somebody just called up from the minor leagues in the same line-up as Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron, and you get the picture. It made a big impression on me that this living legend treated me (objectively, a nobody) as a valued colleague, and it was a valuable life lesson about how to treat other people correctly. I learned that I was not treated in a special way; this was his standard way of dealing with people.


Best photographs of 2014

Night sky photos on

Israeli Defense Forces


Smithsonian Air and Space

Aviation Week & Space Technology annual photo contest

Code One (Lockheed Martin)


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