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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

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    The History of Flight from Around the World
    1950s


    1959


    • September 15, 1959 - A. Scott Crossfield becomes the first to pilot the fastest and highest flying aircraft in history, the rocket powered X-15.

    • September 12, 1959 - The USSR's Luna 2 is launched and becomes the first human object to reach the Moon.

    • June, 1959 - Scott Crossfield, with the NASA/DOD hypersonic research program, makes the first unpowered glide flight.

    • March 3, 1959 - Pioneer 4: First successful U.S. flyby of the Moon.

    • February 28, 1959 - Discover 1: The first polar orbiting satellite is launched.

    • February 17, 1959 - Vanguard 2: First successful launch of this principal International Geophysical Year (IGY) scientific satellite.

    • February 6, 1959 - The first Titan rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

    • January 2, 1959 - The USSR's Luna 1 launched and became the first man-made object to escape Earth and orbit the Sun


    1958


    • December 19, 1958 - First transmission and reception of a human voice from space.

    • November 7, 1958 - Last Flight in X-1E model by NASA research pilot John McKay.

    • November 1, 1958 - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was established in the United States, with Elwood R. Quesada as the first administrator.

    • October 11, 1958 - Pioneer 1: NASA's first launch.

    • October 1, 1958 - NASA becomes operational.

    • March 17, 1958 - Vanguard 1: First solar powered satellite is launched.

    • January 31, 1958 - Explorer I: First U.S. launched artificial satellite which made the first records of micrometeorite activity and led to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts around the earth.

    • 1958 - More than a million passengers fly across the Atlantic in 1958, for the first time surpassing the total number of Atlantic steamship passengers.



    1957


    • December 20, 1957 - The Boeing 707 makes its first flight. It is generally credited with ushering in the Jet Age. It enters service in October 1958 with Pan American World Airways, becoming the first successful jet airliner to enter passenger service.

    • November 3, 1957 - Sputnik II is launched carrying the dog "Laika."

    • October 4, 1957 - The Russians launch Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite.

    • September 20, 1957 - The first successful launch of a Thor rocket, the predecessor of today's Boeing-built Delta launch vehicle.

    • June 11, 1957 - The first launch of the Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

    • January 15-18, 1957 - First jet flight around the world.



    1956


    • September 7, 1956 - The Bell X-2 rocket plane sets an altitude record at over 126,000 feet.

    • 1956 - First air traffic accident occurs over Arizona killing all 128 passengers.



    1955


    • April 27, 1955 - Jean Ross Howard Phelan establishes the Whirly Girls, Inc.



    1954


    • November 24, 1954 - The First Air Force One is christened.

    • November, 1954 - First Boeing 707 made its test flight.



    1953


    • November 20, 1953 - A. Scott Crossfield reached the aviation milestone of Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound) or more than 1,320 miles per hour in the D-558-II Skyrocket.



    1952


    • November 5, 1952 - The Cessna XL-19B, the world's first turboprop light plane, makes its first flight in Wichita, Kansas.

    • August 28, 1952 - American Airlines flies 10,000,000 passenger-miles today, setting a new single-day mileage record for all airlines.

    • July 26, 1952 - Two monkeys and two mice are recovered alive and unharmed after being fired to approximately 200,000 ft. in an "Arobee" rocket from Holloman AFB, New Mexico.

    • April 15, 1952 - The first flight of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (the YB-52 prototype), piloted by Alvin M. "Tex" Johnston, one of Boeing's top test pilots, and Lt. Col. Guy M. Townsend of the U.S. Air Force flight test center.



    1951


    • December 10, 1951 - The first flight of the Kaman 225, powered by a Boeing 502 gas turbine engine

    • June, 1951 - Douglas Aircraft announces development of a supersonic missile that can be guided to an enemy plane and exploded upon contact

    • June, 1951 - Charles F. Blair makes the first single-engined plane flight across the North Pole in his F-51 "Mustang"

    • 1951 - The Atlas rocket by Convair was the first liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 miles




    1950


    • November 1, 1950 - The U.S. Navy announces development of an automatic pilot for helicopters.
    • July, 1950 - Sikorsky's S-52-2 ambulance helicopter, designated YH-18A by the U.S. Army Field Forces, completes its first flight test .





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