Space Shuttle Discovery to Overfly Washington, DC

space shuttle discovery 747  Space Shuttle Discovery to Overfly Washington, DC(Image: David Shapinski, cc-sa-3.0)

It’s an exciting time in Washington, DC as the city prepares for the arrival of the Space Shuttle Discovery, the best known and most travelled of the NASA orbiters.  The space agency has announced that Discovery will fly over the DC metro area mounted atop the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft between 10 – 11am EDT on April 17.  Check out the flyer below, and read the NASA announcement here.

nasa discovery washington  Space Shuttle Discovery to Overfly Washington, DC

NASA Puffin: Cool Concept, Shame it Never Flew

nasa puffin  NASA Puffin: Cool Concept, Shame it Never Flew(Image: NASA, public domain)

In early 2010 the online realm was buzzing with news of the Puffin, a NASA concept for a one-man personal aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL).  The brainchild of aerospace engineer Mark Moore, the electric aircraft was designed to stand 12 feet high and transport a lone pilot around 50 miles at speeds potentially reaching 150 mph.

NASA built a one-third scale proof-of-concept model in 2010 as a means of exploring new technologies and the transition from cruise to hover flight.  However, the Puffin was never intended to be a production vehicle and despite its potential application – military and/or civilian – and inarguable appeal, the concept shown above never actually flew.

NASA B-52 Launching X-24A in 1970

b 52 x 24 a  NASA B-52 Launching X-24A in 1970(Image: NASA, public domain)

This stunning photograph, which reflects the pioneering days of post World War Two aviation research and development, shows the NASA Boeing NB-52B mothership – nicknamed Balls 8 – launching the X-24A experimental lifting body aircraft in 1970.  The rocket-powered Martin Marietta X-24A flew 28 times from 1963 to 1972 before modification to the more stable X-24B, validating the concept that the Space Shuttle could land unpowered.  Balls 8, serial number 52-008, first flew in 1955 and was the oldest active B-52 at the time of its retirement in 2004.  The long serving aircraft now on public display at the north gate of Edwards Air Force Base.