NASA Drops Decades of Archival Flight Research Footage on YouTube

The beginning of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff is practically a love letter to Chuck Yeager. The excellent movie version features a sequence depicting Yeager as he test pilots the X-1 aircraft. Flying out of what would become Edwards AFB in California, Yeager became the first person to engage in supersonic flight.

Now, a few decades later and with little prelude, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California has been uploading hundreds of videos from decades of bleeding-edge aeronautics research onto YouTube. AFRC is posting its legacy video footage so everyone can watch — including video of the X-1 in action. So step into your test pilot boots, kiddos, because we’re going supersonic.

The AFRC is putting a great deal of video content “front and center” on its website and YouTube channel, to get it out of the archives and onto your glowing rectangles. It’s the AFRC’s video vault: some of the most important missions the center has ever conducted. Not every flight is supersonic, but they’re all pretty cool. Footage uploaded so far includes test flights of the X-1, the X-15, and the X-43A. They’ve got videos of STS-1, the first Space Shuttle mission, along with Endeavour, Discovery, and Atlantis. More stuff pops up on their channel every time you look away.

Among the highlights is this clip on the capabilities of NASA’s Global Hawk UAV. The Global Hawk is a partial replacement for the venerable Lockheed U-2, and can carry out many of the same missions and gather much of the same data, all without ever putting a pilot at risk:

Then there’s peppy compilation showing off the hypersonic X-43A. The X-43A still holds the record for the fastest aircraft on record — it dropped from a B-52 upon launch and then ignited its Pegasus rocket booster. There were three tests in total. The first one failed, but during its its second test flight, it managed to travel 24km in just 11 seconds. That works out to roughly Mach 6.83. In the third test, the X-43A managed to travel even faster, reaching approximately Mach 9.6.

Because these videos were buried in a digital database at one particular NASA library, they weren’t getting much air. But YouTube is the largest single video database in the world, and it’s all searchable by keyword.

“NASA has so much digital content that tends to be overlooked by the public, given the difficulty that exists in actually locating the content,” Rebecca Richardson, social media manager for NASA Armstrong, told Motherboard in an email. “Our hope is that by moving the content to more accessible platforms, NASA fans and media personnel will be able to access the content more regularly and become more fully immersed in what is happening at NASA.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ExtremeTechExtremeTech

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Car crashes into Starbucks in North Hollywood, multiple injuries reported

A car plowed into a Starbucks coffee shop in North Hollywood Thursday, with early reports indicating that seven people were

Close