NASA recently launched a spacecraft horizontally from an airplane, rather than vertically from the ground. Should we launch more like this?
NASA Rocket Deploys ‘Satellite Constellation’ After Unique Air-Launch
“First, an aircraft called “Stargazer” took off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday morning. Then, when it reached 39,000 feet above sea level and about 110 nautical miles off Daytona Beach, it air-launched the Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket, which was carrying the satellites.”
NASA Armstrong Fact Sheet: X-15 Hypersonic Research Program
“In the joint X-15 hypersonic research program that NASA conducted with the Air Force, the Navy, and North American Aviation, Inc., the aircraft flew over a period of nearly 10 years and set the world’s unofficial speed and altitude records of 4,520 mph (Mach 6.7) and 354,200 feet in a program to investigate all aspects of piloted hypersonic flight.”
“On April 5, 1990, Orbital ATK began a new era in commercial space flight when our Pegasus rocket was launched from beneath a NASA B-52 aircraft in a mission that originated from Dryden Flight Research Center in California. In the decades since its maiden flight, Pegasus has become the world’s standard for affordable and reliable small launch vehicles. It has conducted 42 missions, launching 86 satellites.”
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Written by: Trace Dominguez