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A modified Pegasus rocket drops steadily away after release from NASA’s B-52B, before accelerating the X-43A over the Pacific Ocean on March 27, 2004

The second X-43A hypersonic research aircraft and its modified Pegasus booster rocket drop away from NASA's B-52B launch aircraft over the Pacific Ocean on March 27, 2004. The mission originated from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Moments later the Pegasus booster ignited to accelerate the X-43A to its intended speed of Mach 7.

Image Credit: NASA/Jim Ross