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The acronym "NASA" stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft landed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans when they returned to Earth.
Before NASA was formed, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was started by President Woodrow Wilson to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight. The NACA determined which problems should be experimentally worked on and discussed their solutions and their application to practical questions. The NACA also directed and conducted research and experiments in aeronautics. The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center is located in Edwards, California.
Landsat was the series of revolutionary satellites that were first launched in 1972 for the purpose of systematically photographing the surface of the Earth from space. SR-71, also known as the "Blackbird," is the research aircraft used by NASA as a test bed for high-speed, high-altitude aeronautical research. It was secretly designed in the 1950s at Lockheed's Advanced Development Company, commonly known as "Skunk Works."
The X-15 aircraft made a total of 199 flights over a period of nearly 10 years from 1959 to 1968. It set unofficial world speed and altitude records of 4,520 mph (Mach 6.7) and 354,200 feet. Information gained from the highly successful program contributed to the development of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft and the Space Shuttle program. The B-52B, also known as the Stratofortress, is an air launch carrier aircraft, as well as a research aircraft platform that has been used on research projects. The B-52B was built in the 1950s and is NASA's oldest aircraft.
Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first successful flight on December 17, 1903. Wilbur and Orville had two older brothers and a younger sister. None of the Wright children were given a middle name. On October 14, 1947, in the rocket powered Bell X-1, Capt. Charles E. Yeager flew faster than sound for the first time.
NASA became operational on October 1, 1958 -- one year after the Soviets launched Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite. The Wright 1905 Flyer, the first practical airplane, flew for 33 minutes and 17 seconds, covering a distance of 20 miles, on October 4, 1905.
On August 29, 1929 the Graf Zeppelin, a rigid airship (or dirigible), completed a historic flight around the world that included a nonstop leg from Friedrichshafen, Germany to Tokyo, Japan -- a distance of almost 7,000 miles. The airship was 100 feet in diameter and 110 feet high, including the gondola bumpers. During its operating life from 1928 to 1937, the Graf Zeppelin made 590 flights, covering more than a million miles. A total of 13,100 passengers were carried without a single injury. On August 25, 1932 Amelia Earhart set three records for women flyers: the first non-stop U.S. crossing, the longest distance record, and a coast-to-coast record time.
After the first powered Wright Flyer of 1903 made history at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright brothers disassembled it and shipped it to Dayton, Ohio, where it was stored in a shed behind their bicycle shop for more than a decade. In March 1913, Dayton was hit by a serious flood, and the boxes containing the Flyer were submerged in water and mud for 11 days. In the summer of 1916 Orville repaired and reassembled the airplane for brief exhibition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The United Nations declared October 4-10, 1999 as World Space Week. These dates commemorate the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
The Altus II unmanned robot plane can circle for up to 24 hours over wildfires, beaming images and data back to computers via satellite. Originally introduced as part of the Environmental Research and Sensor Technology (ERAST) Program, Altus II can map dozens of fires in a day with no risk to a pilot. Have you ever heard a sonic boom? When an airplane travels at a speed faster than sound, density waves of sound emitted by the plane accumulate in a cone behind the plane. When this shock wave passes, a listener hears a sonic boom. Large meteors and the Space Shuttle frequently produce audible sonic booms before they are slowed to below the speed of sound by the Earth's atmosphere.
At any given moment, there are 1,800 thunderstorms happening somewhere on Earth. This amounts to 16 million storms each year! We know the cloud conditions that produce lightning, but we cannot forecast the location or time of a lightning strike. A mile, also called a "statute mile," is the unit of distance most U.S. citizens are familiar with. To convert statute miles into kilometers multiply the statute miles by 1.609347.
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