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A modified Pegasus rocket drops away after release from NASA’s B-52B before accelerating the X-43A over a Pacific Ocean test range on Nov. 16, 2004

The third 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 November 16, 2004. The mission originated from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Moments later the Pegasus booster ignited to accelerate the X-43A to its intended speed of Mach 10.

Image Credit: NASA/Carla Thomas