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Robert Justin

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First rocket to reach outer space

In 1949, "the first recorded man-made object to reach extraterrestrial space" was launched from the White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico. The two-stage rocket, called "Bumper WAC Corporal" Round 5, had a first stage that was a V-2 rocket (German A-4) rocket with the warhead replaced by a launching compartment. After the V-2 reached its highest altitude, the second stage was launched having received its "bump" toward outer space from it. From its mount in the nose cone a modified "WAC Corporal" sounding rocket which completed the flight. It was the first to carry telemetry transmitting technical information to groud stations, including high-altitude temperature measurements. It reached a record speed of 5,150 mph and a record altitude of 244 miles.«

Emergency Landing

At 8 p.m. one night, a pilot who had run out of fuel made an emergency landing at a top-secret government base. He was quickly surrounded by security and taken inside to be interrogated. The interrogation was grueling because they wanted to make sure it was an unplanned landing and he was not a spy.
The interrogation lasted all night. At 6 a.m. they refueled his plane and let him go with his promise never to return. Four hours later he returned and landed again.
Security met him on the runway. They asked him why he had come back.
'I know I promised never to return but I brought my wife and now you have to tell her where I was all night...'

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