Aero Magazine International




Space Shuttle construction has begun in 1977, and has involved several companies: The orbital craft was ordered to North American Rockwell, the auxiliary rockets to Morton Thiokol and the giant external fuel tank was in charge of Martin Marietta. After a long test period, which included gliding flights where the craft was launched from a Boeing 747, in early 1981 the new American space vehicle was ready. The first launch was successfully made on April 12, at Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. Two days after, the Columbia landed on the runway of Edwards Air Base, in California.



Since the Battle of England, in 1940, military designers were in search of a means to create apparatus invisible to radar systems. Several options were tested, but only in July 1981, the Lockheed F-117 flew, the first aircraft with stealth characteristics. Conceived as an attack aircraft, the Nightwalk sacrificed flight quality in exchange of discretion. Its mission was destroying enemy air defenses, opening the way to combat aircrafts.



Fly crossing the English Channel is a symbolic proof for European experimental aircrafts. In July 1981, the Solar Challenger made the feat. With the wings covered by photovoltaic cells, the aircraft was driven by an electric motor, without

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