14 October 1997: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of his historic supersonic flight in the Bell X-1 research rocketplane, Brigadier General Charles Elwood (“Chuck”) Yeager, United States Air Force (Retired) once again broke the Sound Barrier when he flew over Edwards Air Force Base in a McDonnell Douglas F-15D-38-MC Eagle, serial number 84-046. Lieutenant Colonel Troy Fontaine flew in the rear seat of the two-place fighter. Glamorous Glennis III was painted on the Eagle’s nose.
The Associated Press reported that an estimated 1,000 spectators were at Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert north of Los Angeles, California, to see this historic flight.
My friend, aviation photographer Tim Bradley, and I were there. Tim took the photograph above a few minutes after General Yeager landed. As he concluded his comments to the crowd, he said, “All that I am. . . I owe to the Air Force.”
21 July 1969: After spending a total of 21 hours, 36 minutes, 21 seconds on the surface of The Moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fired the rocket engine of the Lunar Module’s Ascent Stage. The liftoff was at 17:54 UTC.
Three hours and forty minutes later, the Eagle ascent stage docked with Columbia, the Command/Service Module, in lunar orbit.
10:56:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Sunday, 20 July 1969 (02:56:15, 21 July 1969 UTC): 109 hours, 24 minutes, 15 seconds after the Apollo 11/Saturn V was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA Astronaut Neil Alden Armstrong set foot on the surface of the Moon.
“That’s one small step for a man. . . one giant leap for mankind.”
This was the most significant event in the history of mankind.