April 5, 1990

1990: NASA test pilot and former astronaut Gordon Fullerton commands a NASA B-52 Stratofortress (NB-008) that carried and launched the Pegasus air-launched winged space booster for the first time. Pegasus was launched by the NB-52 at 43,000 feet 60 miles southwest of Monterey, Calif. After falling for a few seconds, the first stage booster carried the rocket to 250,000 feet. Afterwards, the second and third stages pushed the 422-pound payload into a 320-mile polar orbit. The three-function payload, Pegsat, included a Navy communications satellite, a NASA atmospheric experiment, and other flight instruments. (Seen here, the second Pegasus launch, July 1991)