'Thanks for the Lift': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took Free-Flight

Enterprise’s flights, 40 years ago, laid the groundwork for the Free Flights and eventually the maiden Space Shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

They gathered in their thousands—65,000, in fact—at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the cool, pre-dawn hours of Friday, 12 August 1977, to witness America’s first Space Shuttle take flight and perform […]

'Magic Carpet Ride': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Space Shuttle to Altitude (Part 2)

Enterprise’s Captive-Active flights, which began 40 years ago, this month, laid the groundwork for the Free Flights and eventually the maiden Space Shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

The Approach and Landing Test (ALT) series of the Space Shuttle, which began 40 years ago, in the summer of 1977, were “just that”, in the words […]

'In a Real Flight Environment': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Space Shuttle to Altitude (Part 1)

Flying Enterprise for her test flights were (from left) Gordon Fullerton, Fred Haise, Joe Engle and Dick Truly. Photo Credit: NASA

Four decades ago, this summer, a shuttle (though not a “space” shuttle) took to the skies above Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to show the world what she could do. Outwardly, Orbiter Vehicle […]

'Better Than Any Simulation': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Shuttle From Ground to Air (Part 2)

Boasting the aerodynamic tail cone for four of the independent flights, Enterprise demonstrated the capabilities of the space shuttle in the low atmosphere. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, this fall, the first member of NASA’s space shuttle fleet was structurally complete and well on the way toward her first mission. Yet unlike the […]

'In A Real Flight Environment': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Shuttle From Ground to Air (Part 1)

NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) is pictured here with Shuttle Enterprise during the first of the shuttle program’s Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in summer 1977. Photo Credit: NASA

When we think of the space shuttle, we think of the five spaceworthy orbiter vehicles—Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, […]

Dream Chaser's First Flight a Historic Success Despite Landing Gear Issue

The Dream Chaser engineering test article coming in for an autonomous landing Saturday morning at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. As the image clearly shows, the left landing gear did not deploy properly, causing the vehicle to sustain minor damage on landing. SNC expects to repair the vehicle, and since the flight itself went […]

Dream Chaser Suffers Landing Gear Failure After First Free Flight Test

Sierra Nevada Corporation carried out the first free flight ALT test with their Dream Chaser test article this past Saturday, carrying the vehicle aloft under an air-crane helicopter before being released. Although the flight itself appears to have gone as planned a problem was encountered with the left landing gear at touchdown, causing damage […]

Dream Chaser Back On Track for Free Flight Tests by End of the Year

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser space plane. Photo Credit: SNC

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the company developing the Dream Chaser spaceflight vehicle, is back on track to conduct a series of Approach and Landing tests (ALT) after the government shutdown halted work at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California earlier this month. With […]

Astronaut C. Gordon Fullerton, 1936–2013

Space shuttle astronaut Gordon Fullerton has passed away. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Charles Gordon Fullerton passed away today, Wednesday, Aug. 21, at age 76. Colonel Fullerton was known for his career pioneering the space shuttle as one of its first test pilots, as well as his later career as a research pilot.

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