Stargazer still pumping em out after 25 years

The U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing, NASA, and Northrop Grumman used the latter’s Pegasus XL rocket to heft the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft into orbit last night.

The cool thing about Pegasus is that it was carried aloft by the L-1011 Stargazer aircraft, which took off from the Skid Strip runway at CCAFS before reaching an altitude and location where the rocket was released for launch.

The Stargazer serves as the “air-breathing reusable first stage” of Pegasus, which, according to Boeing, is the first winged vehicle to accelerate to eight times the speed of sound.

A converted Air Canada Lockheed L-1011 TriStar built in 1974, Stargazer has logged at least 43 missions, launching 94 satellites since 1994.

That’s just not something you see every day

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