What Are You Doing Today That Will Be Remembered 80 Years From Now?
On May 20-21, 1932, Amelia Earhart accomplished her goal of flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She took off from Newfoundland, Canada, at 7:12 p.m. on May 20, in her Lockheed Vega. Her flight was filled with dangers, from rapidly changing weather to a broken altimeter so she could not tell how high she was flying, to gasoline leaking into the cockpit.
At one point her plane dropped almost 3,000 feet (914 meters) and went into a spin (which she managed to pull out of) and flames were shooting out of the exhaust manifold. She brought her plane down on the coast of Ireland after a harrowing trip lasting 15 hours and 18 minutes The flight was the second solo flight across the Atlantic and the longest nonstop flight by a woman — 2,026 miles (3,261 kilometers) — as well as the first solo flight across the Atlantic by a woman. President Herbert Hoover awarded her the National Geographic Society Medal on June 21, 1932, for her achievement, and the U.S. Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross, the first woman to receive such an honor. Earhart’s accomplishment meant a great deal to the entire world, but especially to women, for it demonstrated that women could set their own course in aviation and other fields. (U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission)
On Tuesday, between 10 and 11 a.m. EDT, space shuttle Discovery, mounted on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, will fly through the Washington, D.C., area on the way to its new home at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, part of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Photo: The space shuttle Atlantis is shown being ferried to NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida in September 1998. (NASA)
The Gossamer Albatross II is seen here during a test flight at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.
The original Gossamer Albatross is best known for completing the first completely human powered flight across the English Channel on June 12, 1979. The Albatross II was the backup craft for the Channel flight.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is teaming with aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan to launch a space-travel operation.
The plan includes designing and building “the largest aircraft ever constructed,” which will carry a space rocket to an altitude of about 30,000 feet for an air launch into orbit.
The billionaire investor has established a new company called Stratolaunch Systems, based in Huntsville, Ala., to oversee the project. The idea is to bring airport-like operations to the space-launch business, initially carrying commercial and government payloads, and later passengers.
Plans call for a first flight within five years.
The giant carrier aircraft designed to transport the rocket into the air will use six 747 engines, have a gross weight of more than 1.2 million pounds and a wingspan of more than 380 feet. (Seattle Times)