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  • PALMDALE, CALIFORNIA is a great place for the aviation enthusiast. Nearby is Edwards Air Force Base and Mojave Airport - home of the Burt Rutan company Scaled Composites, Inc., maker of the "Voyager." They are currently working on the multiple use high altitude Proteus. For more info on this very interesting company, click here. Also based atSrfrontb.jpg (34525 bytes) the airport is a civilian test pilot school and a large aircraft storage facility.  In Palmdale, Plant 42 is where Boeing, Northrop and Lockheed are located. The valley also provides some of nation's best soaring and Great Western Soaring at Crystaire Airport in nearby Llano is where you go.

  • lasre.gif (9064 bytes)PALMDALE is home to the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.x33small.gif (10024 bytes) Currently they are modifying a Blackbird to test a ten percent, half-span model of the Linear Aerospike engine that will be used to power the first test series of the X-33. The program named LASRE stands for Linear Aerospike SR-71 Experiment.  This engine was recently started with propellants for only the second time at Air Force Phillips Labs.   On May 4, 1998 a successful in-flight cold flow test was accomplished.  The first flight is scheduled for March 1, 1999. The LASRE program has its own page now at:

  • At NASA Dryden Flight Research Center the aerospike has been mated with the center's SR-71 research aircraft and prepared for the first ever firing of the engine in flight. They also recently successfully launched the X-38 on its first flight. The Dryden Research facility is located about 30 minutes from here at Edwards Air Force Base. Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale won the $941 million Contract to build the prototype next-generation space shuttle X-33, which the company calls VentureStar. Rockwell, also located here just finished updating the space shuttle Endeavor. B-2 bombers are manufactured here by the Northrop Grumman plant. Here are some nice B-2 pictures.

  • pete1.jpg (17533 bytes)Palmdale is the home of the world's fastest pilot, Maj. William J. "Pete" Knight.   On October 3, 1967 Pete took the X-15A-2 to an altitude of 67 miles (354,200 feet) with a top speed of 4,520 mph which translates to a mach of 6.72!  The altitude and speed records still stand.  He was awarded the Harmon International Aviators Trophy from President Johnson in 1968 and was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988.  Pete can still be seen regularly throughout the valley.  He is currently serving in the California Senate for District 17.

  • roton1.jpg (11675 bytes)The Rotary Rocket Co. is constructing a 4.5 acre multi-million dollar complex at Mojave Airport.   They will be constructing the Roton rocket, a spacecraft designed to carry a single satellite into space and launch again within a day.  Scaled Composites Inc. has just started working on the kerosene fuel tank that will be used on the rocket.  The Roton is one of several private and government efforts under way to build cheap, reusable spacecraft to replace the costly space shuttle.
  • Standing 64 feet high and 22 feet wide, the vertical rocket initially will be used to place tele-communications satellites in low orbit, one at a time.  Satellite customers will pay about $7 million per flight compared with the current $50 million average for satellite launches and $500 million to fly a space shuttle.

raptor1b.jpg (10066 bytes)This is a picture of the first F-22 during its first test flight at Edwards Air Force Base on May 17, 1998.  The F-22 is widely regarded as the most advanced fighter in the world, combining a revolutionary leap in technology and capability with reduced support requirements and maintenance costs. It is destined to replace the aging F-15 as America’s front-line air superiority fighter, with deliveries beginning in 2002.

The F-22’s combination of stealth, integrated avionics, maneuverability, and supercruise (supersonic flight without afterburner) will give Raptor pilots a first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability against the aircraft of any potential enemy.  This information and photo were found at the Edwards home pageSee the F-22 for yourself on October 3, 1998 at the Edwards Open House.  This will be the public's first viewing opportunity.  Here is the press release.
  • Plant 42 in Palmdale has been the birthplace of thousands of military aircraft.  Check out this link at the Antelope Valley Press for an impressive list. 

  • The Antelope Valley has also been the location of many first flights

  • Cam view of valley and other Antelope Valley info.