Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Supersonic Jet Trainer
Since the 1960s, NASA astronauts have trained for the stresses of spaceflight in the high-altitude, two-seater, supersonic T-38 Talon. Developed by Northrop Grumman, the T-38 became the world’s first supersonic jet trainer in 1961 when it entered service for the U. S. Air Force. The jet’s aerobatic capabilities made it ideal for Air Force pilots to train to fly fighters and bombers, and for NASA astronauts to hone their piloting skills and get accustomed to the G-forces of liftoff and re-entry.
Nicknamed the “White Rocket,” the T-38 requires only 2,300 ft ascend from sea level to 30,000 ft (9,068 m) in one minute. The T-38 on display here was delivered to NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in 1965 and supported Gemini and Apollo programs.
Two General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojet engines with afterburners
Total Thrust: 7,700 lbs (34,251 N) with after burners
Top-Speed: 812 mph (1,307 km/hr) (Mach 1.08 at sea level)
Range: 1,000 miles (1,609)
Ceiling: 55,000 ft (16,764)
Gross Takeoff Weight: 12,093 lbs (5,485 kg)
Length: 46.38 ft (14.14 m)
Wingspan: 25.15 ft (7.7 m)
Funding provided by John and Blair Ramsey and Family
The U. S. Space & Rocket Center salutes the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 unit of Huntsville, Al and the 117th Air Refueling Wing of Birmingham, Al for the installation of this aircraft.
Above: NASA astronaut and Space camp alumna, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger (STS-131) poses with a T-38 at Ellington Field in Texas.
The signature on the jet honor Col. Bob Cabana, Chief Astronaut at JSC when the plane was brought in: Phil Vaughn, project officer of the T-38 depot maintenance facility: Larry LaRose, NASA site Manager at the El Paso Forward Operating Location.
Right: View of the cockpit of a NASA t-38, looking back at the copilot and the cloudy Earth below.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • War, Cold.
Location. 34° 42.668′ N, 86° 39.179′ W. Marker is in Huntsville, Alabama, in Madison County. Marker can be reached from Tranquilty Base, 0.4 miles west of Madison Pike, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Tranquilty Base, Huntsville AL 35805, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Main Engines (within shouting distance of this marker); External Tank (within shouting distance of this marker); Pathfinder Orbiter (within shouting distance of this marker); Pathfinder (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ms. Baker: Monkeynaut (about 400 feet away); U.S. Army/NASA Juno II (about 400 feet away); NASA / U.S. Geological Survey (about 500 feet away); U.S. Army PGM-19 Jupiter (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Huntsville.
Also see . . . U.S. Space & Rocket Center. (Submitted on September 22, 2016.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 21, 2016, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 568 times since then and 64 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 21, 2016, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.