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Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket

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This object is on display in the East Escalator exhibition at the National Mall building.

Summary

Piloted by A. Scott Crossfield, on November 20, 1953, the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket became the first aircraft to fly faster than Mach 2, twice the speed of sound. Air-launched from a U.S. Navy Boeing P2B-1S (B-29) the swept-wing, rocket-powered D-558-2 reached Mach 2.005 in a shallow dive at 18,898 meters (62,000 feet).

The D-558 series of aircraft was developed by Douglas under the direction of Edward H. Heinemann for the U.S. Navy to explore transonic and supersonic flight. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the predecessor to NASA), used this Skyrocket, the second one built, to explore the flight characteristics of swept-wing aircraft. It set several other speed and altitude records before the program ended in 1956.

Transferred from the U.S. Navy Bureau of Weapons

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Wingspan: 7.6 m (25 ft)
Length: 12.8 m (42 ft)
Height: 3.9 m (12 ft 8 in)
Weight, launch: 7,161 kg (15,787 lb)
Weight, landing: 4,673 kg (9,421 lb)
Top speed: 2,078 km/h (1,291 mph)

Materials: Overall: Aluminum

Physical Description:White, US Navy, single-seat, rocket-powered supersonic aircraft.

Inventory number: A19610108000

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