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Hey there everybody, it's Friday night! Welcome to the Gulf Watchers Block Party!

Golden Anniversaries -- let's celebrate some tonight, okay?

First, manned spaceflight in the USA ... how many of y'all remember when we didn't have Saturn IV
rockets to send aloft Gemini or Apollo spacecraft yet? (Yeah, we're back there now ...)

Next, closer to home, Hercules at  Dyess AFB, Texas  ...

Last weekend, I wasn't around (on very short notice) because ... well, this happened .... this year, for Airfest, the show was at Abilene Regional Airport, with the Air Force's F-16 single-ship demonstration team,  VIPER WEST.

Ahem. That was not the only thing I enjoyed thoroughly last weekend. That was, however, probably the loudest single longest-lasting thing.  : 7 )

 Come on over the flor de lis de naranja ...

and we'll talk about anniversaries:

First, there's the 50th anniversary of manned space flight in the US.
Freedom 7, a Mercury capsule atop a Redstone rocket, carried Alan Shepard into space -- the first American to boldly go -- 50 years ago this week.

A lifetime ... in space, on the way to space, winning the space race... Endeavour, which will carry Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' husband back into space, will now launch no earlier than May 16th. The spacecraft is undergoing repairs; in similar news, the whole of the Air Force Raptor fleet is now grounded, for work on its onboard oxygen generation systems.

That other golden anniversary hits closer to home with me -- the C-130 Herculesaircraft has 50 years in service at Dyess Air Force Base Texas. It's possible, though I don't know for sure, that a Combat Shadow, Combat Spear, or  Combat Talon or two -- supported the SEAL Team mission to Abottabad last weekend.

Poll

What's the earliest aerospace milestone you remember?

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| 26 votes | Vote | Results

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