This weeks selection from the Flight International space archive
My wings are like a shield of steel.
before they invented transistors or space monkeys they needed a human crew...
...to press the button to ignite stage two
preferably from south america.
then when they land in the sea its not such a long swim home
"The 5th December picture shows the flight profile of the 21 October 1998 ESA mission Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator (ARD). Built by EADS, ARD has a NASA Apollo programme style capsule design and was used to test and qualify new technologies and flight control capabilities for atmospheric reentry and landing. Launched from the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, it separated from its EADS Astrium Ariane 5 rocket's cryogenic main stage 12min after lift-off at 216km (134miles). Reaching an altitude of 830km, its parachute landing was within 4.9km (2.64nm) of its target point in the Pacific ocean between the Marquises and Hawaii after a 1h and 41min flight. During reentry the heatshield temperature reached 900°C (1,590F) and the cone and heatshield thermal protection was in a good condition after retrieval. Throughout the flight ARD remained airtight and intact. Telemetry systems and reception stations all performed correctly and the onboard global positioning system receiver worked during the entire flight except, as expected, during black-out in reentry. Although ARD reached 830km altitude its target had been 1,200km. During the mission it recorded and transmitted to the ground more than 200 parameters for analysis of the flight and behaviour of onboard equipment."