NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The World's first supersonic aircraft. A Bell X-1 aircraft in flight. The X-1 was the first aircraft to fly faster than sound. This historic flight took place on 14 October 1947, piloted by Captain (later General) Charles 'Chuck' Yeager. The X-1 was carried into the air under a converted B-29 bomber. At an altitude of 6800 metres, the X-1 was released. Powered by a four-chamber XLR-11 rocket engine of 26.5 kilonewton (kN) thrust, the X-1 achieved a speed of 1078 km/h at an altitude of 12,800 metres - equivalent to 1.015 times the speed of sound. The aircarft was unofficially named "Glamorous Glennis" after Yeager's wife. It is now on display in a museum in Washington.
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