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A Babe in the Universe


23 Oct 2011, 15:09 UTC
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The National air and Space Museum on the Washington Mall is a huge building, so big that a Skylab Space Station occupies just one corner. Even this structure can not contain the whole collection, so the larger aircraft are displayed at the Stephen F. Udvar Hazy center near Dulles Field. In the last post we saw the test vehicle Enterprise in a place of honour for Space Shuttles. The B-29 Enola Gay gives some idea of the scale of this building.Even in this bigger space, the Concorde SST is a tight fit. Even from a high catwalk, it is difficult to get the whole plane in one shot. In its heyday Concorde regularly carried passengers at cruise speed of Mach 2. It could not travel faster, due to the effects of heat on an aluminum airframe. The cancelled Boeing SST would have been even bigger, 90 meters long. Planned to be built of lighter heat-resistant titanium, America's SST would have cruised at Mach 3. What would airports look like if these giants had survived?Sustained flight at Mach 3 had been proven practical in the 1960's by this aircraft. Fitting for a plane that travelled to the edge of Space, the ...

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