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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

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    The History of Flight from Around the World



    • 20 August 2013 - Newest Astronaut Class Officially Introduced. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden formally introduced NASA’s new astronaut class at the Johnson Space Center Tuesday, 20 August 2013. The astronaut candidates are Josh A. Cassada and Victor J. Glover, both lieutenant commanders in the U.S. Navy; Tyler N. "Nick" Hague, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force; Christina M. Hammock; Nicole Aunapu Mann, a major in the U.S. Marine Corps; Anne C. McClain and Andrew R. Morgan, both majors in the U.S. Army; and Jessica U. Meir. They were selected from more than 6,100 applicants through a rigorous process. Bolden said the candidates “not only have the right stuff, they represent the full tapestry of American diversity.”

    • 13 August 2013 - SpaceX Grasshopper Demonstrates Successful Vertical-Takeoff-and-Landing. SpaceX successfully staged the most challenging test flight yet of its Grasshopper test vehicle, sending the vertical-takeoff-and-landing rocket 250 meters into the air and steering it 100 meters laterally before bringing it in for a landing. The test took place 13 August at SpaceX’s test facility near McGregor, Texas. Grasshopper is a part of SpaceX’s initiative, first announced in 2011, to develop an orbital rocket with a reusable first stage. The test vehicle is based closely on the first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket but has landing legs and is powered by a single kerosene-fueled Merlin 1-D engine.

    • 12 Augsut 2013 - Coast Guard Deploys ScanEagle UAV In Tests. During the spring of 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed a ScanEagle UAV during a two-week trial that resulted in the seizure of cocaine, the first time the Coast Guard deployed a unmanned aerial system from a cutter in a drug interdiction. The Coast Guard plans to purchase a small UAV as early as 2016, but this plan is an interim solution until a larger one like the Fire Scout is ready. UAVs would be used to augment manned operations.

    • 5 August 2013 - Japanese Talking Robot On Its Way to the ISS. A small talking robot launched into space aboard a Japanese cargo ship Saturday, 3 August. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the humanoid “Kirobo” robot astronaut into orbit from southern Japan as part of nearly 3.5 tons of supplies and equipment to resupply the space station's six-person crew. After it arrives at the ISS on Friday, Kirobo's primary role will be to keep Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata company.

    • 19 July 2013 – Bezos Announces Recovery of Apollo 11 Engine. Coinciding with the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, billionaire Jeff Bezos revealed Friday, 19 July 2013, that one of the engines he recovered from the ocean earlier this year is from the Apollo 11 mission. A NASA spokesperson verified the discovery was confirmed using information from the Marshall Space Flight Center.

    • 16 July 2013 – NASA HS3 Team Deploying UAVs to Track Hurricane Intensity. NASA’s Ames Research Center has scheduled unmanned flight missions for hurricane research in the Atlantic from 20 August to 23 September. The mission will involve two Global Hawk aircraft equipped with instruments to measure atmospheric humidity, pressure, temperature, aerosols and wind; and will focus on tracking intensity changes of hurricanes, which is the most difficult aspect for forecasters. Researchers hope the data from the Global Hawk flights will refine the existing models forecasters rely on to predict the course of storms.

    • 10 July 2013 – X-47B Navy Drone Completes First Ever Unmanned Carrier Landing. The U.S. Navy’s X-47B drone made history Wednesday, 10 July 2013, as the first unmanned aircraft to land on the moving flight deck of an aircraft carrier at sea. The drone, named "Salty Dog 502," took off from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, on a flight to the USS George H. W. Bush, in the Atlantic off the coast of Virginia. The drone landed by deploying a tailhook that caught a wire across the ship’s flight deck, just like a traditional fighter jet. Unlike other military drones, the X-47B isn't remotely piloted and relies upon an automated computer system to complete its maneuvers. On 14 May of this year, the X-47B executed the first ever "catapult takeoff" and landed successfully at Patuxent an hour later.

    • 6 July 2013 – Solar-Powered Plane Completes Cross-Country Flight. Solar Impulse, a solar-powered, single-seated plane, completed the last leg of its history-making cross-country journey Saturday night, 6 July 2013, safely touching down at New York’s JFK International Airport at 11:09 p.m. The cross-country journey began in California in early May, with Saturday’s final leg taking off from Dulles International Airport a little before 5 a.m. The final leg of the flight, while short on distance, took the longest time because of the need to avoid air traffic. The only problem noted was a wing issue resulting from a tear in the fabric.

    • 3 July 2013 – UAV Swarms Expected to Benefit a Variety of Fields. Scientists are working on applying swarm intelligence to UAVs because it could be beneficial to deploy several coordinated flying vehicles in a variety of fields. One application for UAV swarms would be search and rescue. A swarm could cover a lot of ground quickly while requiring only one operator. Another is exploration. Swarms could scan sites rapidly, whereas larger UAVs cannot. Swarming UAVs could also play a role in defense, as it is thought that such a coordinated attack could overwhelm standard missile-defense systems.

    • 29 June 2013 – New Atlantis Exhibit Opens. The space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center officially opened on Saturday, 29 June 2013. Atlantis, the last space shuttle to fly, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit that chronicles the entire 30 year history of the shuttle program. The $100 million exhibit, showcasing the workhorse of the shuttle fleet that flew 33 times and more than 125 million miles, displays the orbiter as if in flight.

    • 27 June 2013 – FAA Releases NexGen Plan. The FAA released the NextGen air traffic control modernization plan, saying NextGen improvements will reduce delays by 41% compared with what would happen if no further NextGen improvements were made beyond what the agency has done already. The plan, described as one of the FAA’s highest priorities, provides some detail on progress so far and what is expected in the near term.

    • 14 June 2013 – Airbus A350 Completes Maiden Flight. The Airbus A350 successfully completed its maiden flight Friday, 14 June 2013. The flight, with two former fighter pilots at the controls, took off at 10:01 a.m. local time (4:01 a.m. EDT) from the Airbus factory in southwestern France. It was watched by more than 10,000 staff and spectators. The A350 touched down at 2:05 p.m. local time after flying past the Toulouse production site, concluding eight years of development estimated to have cost $15 billion.

    • 10 June 2013 – Opportunity Rover Makes New Discovery Before Heading to Next Locale. Nearly ten years after its launch, NASA’s Opportunity rover analyzed what may be the oldest rock captured, and found its first evidence that Mars once had nonacidic water – the kind of water that could sustain life on Earth.

    • 7 June 2013 – Orion Capsule Passes Critical Pressurization Tests. NASA’s Orion crew capsule achieved key milestones Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center by successfully passing its static loads tests, thus demonstrating it could survive what it is expected to experience in space, and validating its design. Orion was successfully pressurized to 110 percent of the conditions it will be subjected to in flight, also demonstrating that repairs made to superficial cracks will hold when it makes its first flight. Orion is scheduled to launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in September 2014.

    • 1 June 2013 - SpaceX Performs First Test Firing of Falcon 9-R Rocket. SpaceX performed the first test firing of its Falcon 9-R prototype rocket on 1 June. News of the test was announced 3 June by Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder. The test lasted about 10 seconds and included nine Merlin 1-D engines. Falcon 9-R is the name SpaceX is using for a planned Falcon 9 variant with a fully reusable first stage. The company has been testing reusable launch vehicle technology under its Grasshopper technology demonstrator program. (Image Credit: SpaceX)

    • 22 May 2013 – Triton Completes First Flight. The Northrop Grumman-built MQ-4C Triton high-altitude unmanned aircraft successfully completed its first flight Wednesday, 22 May 2013, from the company’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, CA. The MQ-4C Triton is being produced for U.S. Navy high-altitude maritime surveillance missions, and is designed to fly up to 24 hours and 11,500 miles without refueling. The aircraft is a heavily modified version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, and has a strengthened airframe and de-icing features that allow it to fly at altitudes nearly ten miles above sea level, giving it a 2,000-nautical-mile view of the ocean in every direction. The first flight is considered a major step in the Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program.

    • 22 May 2013 – Solar Impulse Sets Distance Record for a Solar-Powered Flight. Solar Impulse, a solar-powered plane, flew from Arizona to Texas on the second leg of its cross-country journey Wednesday, 22 May 2013, landing in Dallas Thursday morning at 2:08 a.m. EDT. Solar Impulse's 12,000 photovoltaic cells kept the plane going in the dark. While not setting any speed records, the flight took more than 18 hours which did set a new distance record for a single solar-powered flight.

    • 17 May 2013 – X-47B UAV Makes Its First Touch and Go Landing. Less than a week after completing its first catapult launch from a carrier deck, the X-47B UAV achieved another milestone Friday, 17 May 2013, when it executed its first touch and go landings aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, bringing the technology demonstrator ever closer to being fully carrier-capable. The tests demonstrated the ability for the UAV and the carrier to communicate with each other over the super-fast datalink that they share. This is especially important if conditions become unsafe for a landing and it needs to be waved off.

    • 14 May 2013 – X-47B UAV Launches from Aircraft Carrier for First Time. The U.S. Navy made aviation history on Tuesday, 14 May 2013, by launching an unmanned jet off an aircraft carrier for the first time. The X-47B stealth drone was catapulted at 11:18 a.m. EDT from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA. The X-47B flew a series of pre-programmed maneuvers around the ship before heading off for Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland where it was scheduled to land. The successful launch of the X-47B is “an inflection point in history on how we will integrate manned and unmanned aircraft on carrier flight decks in the future,” Rear Adm. Mat Winter wrote on the Navy’s official blog. With a range of 2,000 nautical miles, an unmanned jet like the X-47B could give the Navy both a long-range strike and reconnaissance capability.

    • 2 May 2013 – Navy Announces First Aircraft Squadron to Include Both Manned, Unmanned Vehicles. The U.S. Navy on Thursday, 2 May 2013, established its first aircraft squadron made up of both traditional helicopters and remotely piloted drones. The squadron’s first deployment is expected next year, and is designated Helicopter Maritime Strike 35, “the Magicians.” Its pilots will fly the drones from a control room inside the ship. The Magicians squadron will be made up of eight MH-60R Seahawks and 10 MQ-8B Fire Scouts.

    • 1 May 2013 – X-51A Waverider Successfully Achieves Flight Above Mach 5. The US. Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Boeing X-51A Waverider demonstrator, on 1 May, successfully achieved sustained, scramjet-powered, air-breathing hypersonic flight above Mach 5 in its final test flight. The X-51A is thought to have experienced positive acceleration to speeds in excess of Mach 5 and run for the full duration of the planned powered phase of the test. The success of this test follows less successful prior tests and could be pivotal in helping drive further research and development to meet the Air Force's long-term goal of hypersonic capability.

    • 29 April 2013 – Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Makes First Rocket-Powered Flight. Virgin Galactic’s passenger spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, completed its first rocket-powered flight Monday, 29 April 2013 above the Mojave Desert in California. Approximately 45 minutes into the flight, SpaceShipTwo was released from its carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, triggering ignition of the rocket motor, carrying SpaceShipTwo to a max altitude of 56,000 feet. During the 16-second engine burn, the spaceship broke the sound barrier, according to a statement released by Virgin Galactic. The rocket-powered portion of the flight lasted a little more than 10 minutes, and the entire flight took about an hour. Virgin Galactic said it will continue testing this year and plans to reach full space flight by the end of 2013.

    • 21 April 2013 – Antares Launches from Wallops. Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched its Antares rocket at 5 p.m. EDT, Sunday, 21 April, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The goal of this launch is not to connect with the space station, but to make sure the rocket works and that a simulated version of a cargo ship that will dock with space station on future launches separates into orbit.

    • 15 April 2013 – X-48C Aircraft Makes Last of 30 Test Flights. The experimental X-48C ‘blended wing body’ aircraft recently made the last of 30 test flights concluding an eight-month program backed by Boeing and NASA. The two organizations hope to build a bigger, faster (transonic - in the vicinity of the speed of sound) blended wing body aircraft at some point, and that within 15 to 20 years, the concept could be developed into military aircraft for cargo-carrying and aerial refueling missions. All 30 test flights were conducted at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. The X-48C flew for approximately 30 minutes on most flights, attaining an altitude of about 9,800 feet. Very quiet and efficient, the hybrid wing body has shown promise for meeting all of NASA's environmental goals for future aircraft designs.

    • 13 March 2013 – Curiosity Rover Finds Conditions Once Suited for Ancient Life on Mars. An analysis of a rock sample collected by NASA's Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. Scientists identified sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – some of the key chemical ingredients for life – in the material Curiosity drilled out of a rock near an ancient stream bed in Gale Crater on the Red Planet.

    • 6 February 2013 – Embry-Riddle Offers the First Degree in Commercial Space Operations. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced plans, 6 Feb. 2013, to launch an undergraduate degree in Commercial Space Operations this fall at its Daytona Beach campus, the first of its kind in the United States. Officials said the timing was right for a specialized program with companies like SpaceX launching cargo to the ISS, and Virgin Galactic and XCOR preparing for suborbital tourist flights.

    • 1 February 2013 – 1 February 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. The seven-member crew of the STS-107 mission was just 16 minutes from landing on the morning of 1 Feb. 2003 when Mission Control lost contact with the shuttle Columbia. A piece of foam, falling from the external tank during launch, had opened a hole in one of the shuttle’s wings, leading to the breakup of the orbiter upon re-entry. Addressing the nation, President Bush said, “mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.”

    • 28 January 2013 – 28 January 2013 marks the 27th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. The shuttle exploded less than two minutes after lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center in 1986. All seven crew members were killed. An investigation revealed that the cold temperatures compromised the seals on the solid rocket boosters, which led to the explosion.

    • 23 January 2013 – Deep Space Industries Announces Plans for Asteroid Mining. Deep Space Industries (DSI) announced it is raising $20 million to fund the first stage of a mission to identify asteroids close to Earth and mine them for valuable materials. DSI is targeting 2015 to launch satellites called “Fireflies” to identify targets, followed a year later by “Dragonflies” to return samples. It plans to pay satellite companies to allow its 55-pound Fireflies to ride piggyback on existing launches of commercial satellites. The company also has a patent pending on a 3-D-printing process that can create high-strength metal objects from schematics in zero-gravity conditions.

    • January 2013 – Aviation Group Reports 2012 Safest Year On Record Worldwide. According to the Aviation Safety Network, 2012 was the safest year for air travel since 1945. The world's airlines - including passenger and cargo flights - reported only 23 accidents resulting in 475 fatalities last year, compared with the 10-year average of 34 accidents and 773 fatalities per year. The declining accident numbers are the result of several efforts by international aviation groups to require audits of airlines around the world to comply with safety standards. In the U.S., the Aviation Safety Network's database shows only two fatal commercial airline accidents last year, resulting in two deaths.

    • January 2013 – Over the past year, humankind's efforts to push farther out into the solar system have resulted in launching the first commercial spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station, landing a car-size rover on Mars, docking the first Chinese manned spacecraft, and sending 18 people to live and work off the planet. As these and other firsts enter history, they will join a half century of international space milestones. Looking ahead into the coming year, 2013 will mark several key anniversaries for the events of the previous five decades of human activity outside the Earth.


    • November 16, 2012 – NASA, Boeing Mark Testing Milestone for X-48C Aircraft - NASA and Boeing's blended wing X-48C flies its 100th flight, marking a major milestone for the experimental aircraft. The unmanned aerial vehicle has been modified to investigate noise-shielding concepts with a blended wing body design, combined with mounting the engines on top of the fuselage and shielding them with both the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces. Twenty more test flights are expected before the blended wing body program is completed.

    • November 15, 2012 – Pentagon Agrees to Station Space Debris-Tracking Radar In Australia - Following high-level discussions with Australia’s Defense Minister Stephen Smith, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta announces that the U.S. military will station in Australia an advanced radar to help track space junk threatening satellites, and is working toward placement of a new, state-of-the-art deep-space telescope, called the Space Surveillance Telescope, developed by DARPA.

    • November 14, 2012 – Northrop Grumman Unveils Bigger Firebird - Northrop Grumman Corporation unveils a bigger Firebird aircraft, some 30 percent larger than the Firebird demonstrator it unveiled in 2011, when it began test flights on the medium-altitude optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) demonstrator

    • November 4, 2012 – Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Makes Debut for United - Boeing's 787 Dreamliner makes its commercial debut for United Airlines on Sunday, November 4, 2012, on a flight from Houston to Chicago. Sometimes referred to as "the aircraft of the future," the Dreamliner is expected to save money on fuel and potentially gain consumer preference for its comforts.

    • November 2, 2012 – space shuttle Atlantis Moves to KSC Visitor Complex - On Friday, November 2, 2012, space shuttle Atlantis makes its final departure from the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, making a 10-mile journey from the assembly building to its new display site at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Atlantis arrived at Kennedy in April 1985. The spacecraft traveled 125,935,769 miles during 33 spaceflights, including 12 missions to the International Space Station. Its final flight, STS-135, closed out the Space Shuttle Program era upon landing on July 21, 2011.

    • October 30, 2012 – California Science Center Opens Endeavour Exhibit - After a nearly two-decade career ferrying astronauts into space, space shuttle Endeavour begins its final mission as the centerpiece of a long-awaited museum exhibit paying tribute to California's aerospace industry and the American shuttle program. Elected leaders, NASA officials and astronauts joined hundreds of schoolchildren and space fans for a ceremony commemorating the opening of the shuttle display at the California Science Center.

    • October 28, 2012 – SpaceX Dragon Returns to Earth in Successful Pacific Splashdown - SpaceX's Dragon, an unmanned space capsule carrying medical samples from the International Space Station, splashes down in the Pacific Ocean Sunday, October 28, 2012, completing the first official private interstellar shipment under a NASA contract. It lands in the Pacific via parachutes at 12:22 p.m. PDT, a couple hundred miles off the Baja California coast. The Dragon carried nearly 2,000 pounds of science experiments and old station equipment as well as nearly 500 frozen samples of blood and urine collected by station astronauts over the past year. It was the first of 12 scheduled deliveries.

    • October 26, 2012 – Missile Defense Agency Completes Historic Test - The U.S. Military successfully intercepts four of five targets over the Pacific Ocean in the largest and most complex test to date of the nation's ballistic missile defense system. The targets used during the test at Kwajalein Atoll include one medium-range ballistic missile, two short-range ballistic missiles and two low-flying cruise missiles. The missiles are launched from the ground, air, and sea in an exercise that took about 30 minutes to complete. It is the first time in a live-fire test that multiple weapon systems engaged a raid of multiple targets nearly simultaneously.

    • October 15, 2012 – Cassini Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary - NASA's Cassini spacecraft celebrates 15 years of uninterrupted drive time. Since launching on October, 15 1997, the spacecraft logs more than 3.8 billion miles of exploration, enough to circle Earth more than 152,000 times. After flying by Venus twice, Earth, and then Jupiter on its way to Saturn, Cassini pulls into orbit around the ringed planet in 2004 and spends its last eight years weaving around Saturn, its rings and moons. Cassini sends back some 444 gigabytes of scientific data to date, including more than 300,000 images.

    • October 14, 2012 – Felix Baumgartner Makes Successful Jump from Stratosphere - Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner becomes the first man to break the sound barrier in a record-breaking freefall jump from the edge of space. The 43-year-old jumps from a capsule more than 24 miles above the Earth, reaching a top speed of 833.9 miles per hour, or 1.24 times the speed of sound. The veteran skydiver is in freefall for four minutes and 20 seconds before opening his red and white parachute and floating down to the desert in New Mexico. His launch coincides with the 65th anniversary of American pilot Chuck Yeager breaking the speed of sound.

    • October 10, 2012 – SpaceX Falcon Successfully Docks with ISS - Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s unmanned cargo ship successfully docks with the International Space Station during the first regular cargo mission in commercial spaceflight. Astronauts use the station’s robotic arm to grab the Dragon capsule at 6:56 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, October 10, and attach it to a docking port about 250 miles above Earth at 9:03 a.m., ahead of schedule. The Hawthorne, California-based company, SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, accomplishes a similar feat on May 25, 2012 in a test mission, becoming the first company to do so. This is the first of at least a dozen resupply flights the company will make under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

    • September 22, 2012 – First Group of USAF UAV Operators Graduate Without Learning to be Pilots - The first group of U.S. Air Force student operators who have not completed the service's undergraduate pilot training (UPT) program graduate from the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper training course. These pilots are part of the USAF's new career field, designated 18X within the service's internal categorization, which is designed to train drone operators to fly unmanned aircraft without being trained as a manned aircraft pilot.

    • August 14, 2012 – Faulty Control Fin Results in Failed WaveRider Test - The U.S. Air Force launches the X-51A, a hypersonic unmanned air vehicle with the potential of traveling at six times the speed of sound, but the test ends in disappointment when a part fails, causing it to plummet into the Pacific Ocean. The experimental aircraft is launched over the Pacific from above the Point Mugu Naval Air Test Range in a key test to fine-tune its hypersonic scramjet engine. The aircraft is designed to hit mach 6, or six times the speed of sound, and fly for five minutes. But that does not happen as the engine never ignites. About 15 seconds into the flight, a fault is identified in one of the WaveRider's control fins, and the aircraft is not able to maintain control and is lost. It is the third time the WaveRider has flown. Not one flight goes the distance. Only one of four WaveRider aircraft remains, but officials have not decided when, or if, that vehicle will fly.

    • July 19, 2012 – Electric Aircraft Flies Over 200 MPH for First Time - An electric aircraft flies faster than 200 miles per hour for the first time. Electric vehicle pioneer Chip Yates makes the flight in his Long-ESA. Yates reaches the milestone flying at 202.6 mph, but he claims his team could reach even higher speeds. Yates hopes his speed runs will help develop the technology needed for both longer endurance flights and more practical electric aircraft.

    • May 25, 2012 – The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) Dragon capsule docks with the International Space Station, marking the first time in history that a private company joins with the space station. The ISS's Expedition 31 crew successfully captures the SpaceX Dragon capsule with the station's robotic arm at 2:56 PM, coming precisely three days, six hours, 11 minutes and 23 seconds after the mission's launch.

    • April 2012 - Airbus begins final assembly of the first A350 XWB. The company has orders for 548 A350s, a family of long-range 250-350-passenger widebody airliners with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily from carbonfibre-re-inforced polymer. The first flight is planned for mid-2013.


    • September 19–21, 2012 – The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour (atop a modified Boeing 747 jet) – Space shuttle Endeavour begins its flight from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, thrilling spectators across the southern United States before completing the first stage of its transcontinental voyage in Houston. Endeavour completes the second leg of the trip on Friday, September 21, arriving at Los Angeles International Airport atop a modified Boeing 747 jet at 12:51 p.m. PT. Endeavour, along with Discovery, Enterprise and Atlantis, become museum pieces after NASA ends its 30-year shuttle program in July 2011.

    • July 8, 2011 - Final flight of space shuttle Atlantis, and final flight of the Space Shuttle program – Payload Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Raffaello.

    • May 16, 2011 - Final flight of space shuttle Endeavour – ISS assembly flight ULF6, ELC 3, ROEU, Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

    • February 24, 2011 - Final flight of space shuttle Discovery – ISS assembly flight ULF5, PMM Leonardo, ELC 4.


    • April 5, 2010 - NASA's last night launch of the Shuttle program: ISS assembly flight 19A: Utility and Logistics Flight 4: Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo.

    • May 25, 2010 - A Boeing X-51A Waverider flight-test vehicle successfully made the longest scramjet-powered hypersonic flight on 25 May 2010 off the southern California coast. The 200-second burn by the X-51's Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne-built air breathing scramjet engine accelerated the vehicle to Mach 5. The previous longest scramjet burn in a flight test was 12 seconds in a NASA X-43. The flight is considered the first use of a practical hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet in flight.

    • June 4, 2010 - SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket achieved Earth orbit on 4 June, nine minutes into its maiden flight, drawing praise from NASA, the White House and others eager for the company to start resupplying the International Space Station. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the launch "bodes well" and is a "huge boost of confidence" for President Obama's plan to privatize launches to the space station.

    • June 28, 2010 - Engine maker Pratt & Whitney announced Monday, 28 June 2010, that Lockheed Martin's F-35B Lightning II Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing aircraft successfully made its maiden supersonic flight. U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Matt Kelly climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 1.07 in the off-shore supersonic test track near Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. This marks the first time in aviation history that a production ready, stealthy, short take-off vertical landing capable aircraft has flown supersonic.

    • July 7-8, 2010 – Bertrand Piccard and his Solar Impulse team make aviation history by flying more than 24 consecutive hours non-stop in a solar airplane.

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