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From my archives - and to this day still one of my favorite documentaries and one of the most detailed explorations of the early days of rocketry - Spaceflight aired on the A&E network in 1986 and definitely holds its ground today as an important record of the foundations of the space age. Part one takes us from the German rocket clubs of the 1920's to the breaking of the sound barrier in the X-1, to flight at the edge of space in the amazing X-15.
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By Fran

11 thoughts on “Spaceflight: Thunder In The Skies – V2 to X-15”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Range Ryder says:

    That's hilarious to me it's narrated by Martian Sheen. All I can think of is Apocalypse Now when I hear his voice. I thought they handed me the wrong dossier on V2 rockets.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Lakridsbat says:

    I really love and enjoy that you take your time to share your hidden gems.I don't know what software you use, but if there is a simple setting for bob-deinterlacing of some sort you could upload it to YouTube in 60 frames per second, it would look much more pleasing without all those interlaced lines.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars AnalogueGround says:

    Great documentary. It's amazing how the Americans couldn't accept Sputnik as a breakthrough but rather a threat to their so called 'dominance'. It's where healthy patriotism crosses over the dangerous line and becomes nationalistic xenophobia.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mark Nash says:

    As a fellow contemporary and RF/Antenna engineer and having spent time at Edwards (2001-2004) as civilian contractor with AELindustries in Montgomreyville, Pa, developing the V-22 RWR, I saw/met Chuck Yeager, a relative of my wife, while he was there to ride in an F-16 to open an air show. Also, having eaten at Club Muroc (officers club where I met him) many times, I fondly ponder these earlier times at the base when some very passionate individuals made majic happen. Cheers from a fan!

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jochem Bonarius says:

    What are they up to now? X-60 or so? I'm still wondering about what scramjet will offer and if it will be used for manned flight.
    I'm also still amazed by the SR-71. That was some great engineering.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jeff Piper says:

    Thanks Fran … I appreciate your postings of historical accounts of space. I'll always remember getting my free paper model of the Apollo 11 Lunar lander from a nearby gas station as a kid :-)… assembly was required (& gas was 23 cents). Later I was fortunate to see space shuttle transport #2 land at Edwards AFB. My folks were both aviators, so I've always loved aviation and space advances and technology.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Martin D A says:

    I contend that Wernher Von Braun became one of the most influential men in human history – so far.. Amazingly enough, not through word and deed in the usual sense but
    engineering pure and simple.
    Other modern instigators of change among the many following the industrial revolution are Henry Ford and Howard Edwin Armstrong one directly the other indirectly.. But those who preceded this age are simply too many to list, though you must mention Galileo along with that other Italian, both engineers before the scientists like Newton, Faraday and Maxwell, from the age of enlightenment which released the brakes from 10000 years of human stagnation. The greatest minds ever lived during that brief period.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Real Courte says:

    The launch of Sputnik led America into the science race too. At the end of the 50ies, the governement saw there was too few "teen" interested into science scholarship. Many instances were created to undo this fact at the beggining of the 60ies. Its from here that Von Braun got really his second chance.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Roger H Werner says:

    This film brings back lots of childhood memories. I had models of the X-1, X-2, and X-15 hangi ng from my bedroom ceiling. X-15 exploits were astounding. Thanks very much for posting this.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mark Fergerson says:

    As a kid during the Cold War I was fascinated by anything that flew fast and/or high.
    i built model kits of all of those craft as they were released, including Sputnik.
    Didn't expect to be reliving my childhood today, so thanks. Fran.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jerry Watson says:

    Thank you Fran for this. I was born July 1959. I saw all of the Nasa program launches as a kid. I sure did want to be an Astronaut, but ended up working in Nuclear plants and some laboratory reactors. Now in my "Golden Years" I like my mother RIP work with computers and embedded devices. I grew up just knowing we would be on Mars in the 1980's. Oh how the "future" turned out.

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