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20100220 Edwards AFB Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership Balls 8 by Brian Lockett

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Taken by
Brian Lockett Brian Lockett
Explore score
0.99 Gigapixels
Date added
Feb 22, 2010
Date taken
Feb 20, 2010

The Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress Mothership "Balls 8" is displayed just outside the north gate into Edwards Air Force Base. It has been asserted that Balls 8 can lay claim to being the airplane that has seen and participated in more history than any other single airplane. For forty-five years, the NB-52B was a fixture at Edwards Air Force Base. While the NB-52B is most famous for launching the three North American X-15 rocket planes, it continued to serve in the role of launch platform for a multitude of programs until its final mission on November 16, 2004. It was the oldest flying B-52 by nearly ten years.

The NB-52B launched the three X-15 hypersonic rocket planes.
It launched the Northrop HL-10, Northrop M2-F2/F3, Martin Marietta X-24A and Martin Marietta X-24B lifting bodies.
It simulated the steep, power off approach to landing used by the Space Shuttles.
It assisted in the collection of data about wake turbulence from large aircraft.
It served as an air-to-air gunnery target.
It launched 3/8-scale F-15 Remotely Piloted Research Vehicles (RPRV) and Spin Research Vehicles (SRV).
It launched a Ryan Firebee II drone and the Ryan Firebee based Drones for Aeroelastic Structures Testing (DAST).
It launched the Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology (HiMAT) RPRVs.
It dropped the 48,000-pound Space Shuttle Reusable Booster Drop Test Vehicle (SRB/DTV).
It released a simulated F-111 crew module from its bomb bay to evaluate new parachute recovery systems.
It was the first airplane to launch a satellite into orbit on the Orbital Sciences Pegasus booster.
It tested the drag chute used to decelerate space shuttle orbiters.
It tested pollution reducing fuel additives with a pair of jet engines mounted under its bomb bay.
It launched the X-38 Space Station Crew Return Vehicles.
It launched the X-43A Hyper-X Supersonic Combustion Ramjets.

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Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitcher version 0.4.3510 (Windows)
Panorama size: 994 megapixels (36905 x 26961 pixels)
Input images: 342 (18 columns by 19 rows)
Field of view: 188.9 degrees wide by 138.0 degrees high (top=88.5, bottom=-49.5)
All default settings
Original image properties:
Camera make: PENTAX Corporation
Camera model: PENTAX Optio A30
Image size: 3648x2736 (10.0 megapixels)
Capture time: 2010-02-20 08:03:43 - 2010-02-20 08:35:56
Aperture: f/15.4
Exposure time: 0.02
ISO: 64
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 113.0 mm
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Fixed
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 9.3 to 92.5 percent
Vertical overlap: 49.9 to 51.4 percent
Computer stats: 3838.49 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 17:21:01 (3:02 per picture)
Alignment: 1:04:21, Projection: 36:19, Blending: 15:40:20

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