The Inside Story of How Aviation Week’s Decision to Sit on One Cold War Blockbuster Led to Another

DIA briefings arranged by Gen. “Davy” Jones as part of Aviation Week’s deal not to publish KH-11 details revealed the Soviets had begun development of a space shuttle that ultimately flew only once—unmanned— in November 1988. Credit: Energia

Editor’s note: This month Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, where our U.S. […]

The Future That Wasn't: The Hermes Spaceplane

Hermes, Europe’s spaceplane, is depicted coasting in orbit in an artist’s rendering. Image Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)

The prose in the 1986 Aerospatiale advertisement was breathless: “10 years old, and still 20 years ahead,” it started. The ad continued, “At Aerospatiale, addressing the exciting aerospace challenges of tomorrow means capitalizing on the […]

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Roars Through Second Supersonic Flight

On Sept. 5, 2013, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo was released from its carrier aircraft and proceeded to conduct its second supersonic flight. Photo Credit: Mars Scientific / Clay Center Observatory

At 8 a.m. PDT, over the deserts of Mojave, Calif., Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2), ferried aloft by the WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft, was released, […]

A Brief History of Spaceplanes

Spaceplanes are not a new concept, having been thought up years before the space age even began. Image Credit: NASA

A spaceplane is quite simply a vehicle that can fly as both an airplane in the atmosphere—generating lift from its wings—and as a spacecraft in a vacuum using rocket propulsion. No spaceplane has […]