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  • Faster than the Speed of Sound

    Faster than the Speed of Sound

    October 14, 2022

    On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager flew over 700 miles an hour in a rocket powered Bell X-1 plane, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier. He nicknamed the plane “Glamorous Glennis” after his wife.

    The X-1 borrowed from the ME-163 Komet, a German rocket powered fighter plane, for elements of its design. It took to the skies via air launch, released into flight from the underside of a larger Boeing aircraft. Air launch was considered safer than ground launch for rocket propelled aircraft.

    Before this record breaking flight, some had thought it impossible for humans to ever fly faster than the speed of sound. Previous attempts to do so had resulted in aircraft structural failures. But the highly competitive Yeager, a test pilot through and through, was determined not to let anything stop him from reaching this milestone. In fact, he’d broken a few ribs the day before the historic flight, and had to use a broken piece of broomstick he’d hidden in his sleeve to close the plane door before taking off!

    Experience Cosmosphere’s Bell X-1 artifact, a full-scale, fully-detailed replica of the "Glamorous Glennis" used in the movie The Right Stuff, in this virtual artifact display.

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