History

Vista aerea de la Base Edwards de la Fuerza Aerea de los EEUU en la actualidad (http://ronslog.typepad.com/)
Stablished in the heart of the Mojave Desert, on the border of Kern County and Los Angeles County, California, Edwards Air Force Base has long been a home for flight research and testing and has subsequently been home to many of aviation's most important and daring research flights. Originally known as the Muroc Army Air Field, the base was created in 1933 to serve a gunnery and bombing range stablished there. It is strategically situated next to Rogers Lake, a desert salt pan wich provides a natural extension to base's runways. This large landing area, combined with excellent year-round weather, make it an excellent site for flight testing.

It continued to serve in that capacity until July 1942 when it was activated as a separate post and designated Muroc Army Air Base.

Throughout the war years, the primary mission at Muroc was to provide final combat training for aircrews but in 1942, the immense volume of flight test already being conducted at Wright Field, in Ohio, was one of the factors driving a search for a new site where a "Top Secret" airplane could undergo tests. After examining a number of locations around the country, they selected a site along the north shore of the enormous, flat surface of Rogers Dry Lake about six miles away from the training base at Muroc. The flat lakebeds provided excellent emergency landing sites for the test flights of the America's first jet, the Bell XP-59A Airacomet.

After World War II, America found itself in an accelerating race for aerospace technology. Accordingly, the Air Force began the X-plane program with the main development of the program being carried out at Muroc. As the site become the heart of the USAF research and development effort the base was renamed as Edwards Air Force Base on December 8, 1949 in memory of test pilot Glen Edwards, who died while testing the Northrop YB-49. By 1951 it had already long since become the de facto center of American flight research so on June 25, that year this fact was finally given official recognition when the base was designated as the U. S. Air Force Flight Test Center.

Also stratospheric balloons

By that time the base served to launch stratospheric balloons under the framework of an Air Force project known as "Moby Dick". The main objective was to obtain statistical information on the air currents over United States to made some sort of map of the flow of air masses at several altitudes. Nevertheless, behind this "official" goal was a covert one: to develope new balloons with improved capabilities and new finding systems to be used in a then recent born program to use balloons to obtain strategic recconaissance over Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

The balloon campaign at Edwards started on January 1953 and lasted without pause until May next year. The balloons traveled along the country in southern and eastern flight paths. Many of then often reached the East coast of Canada and the southeast of Mexico and even in one case a Moby Dick balloon crossed in a jet stream the Atlantic Ocean and 29 hours later of the launching arrived to Islas Azores.

After the end of this single campaign the site will not be used anymore for this activity.

During the 60's Edwards was the test field for several secret programs of aircraft research of the USAF among them the failed strategic bomber XB-70 "Valkyrie" and the succesfull SR-71 "Blackbird". Then also would see the first flights of the F-15, F 16, and the stealth F-117A "Nighthawk" and B-2 "Spirit".

In recent years the base served as landing site for the NASA's Space Shuttle and includes among their diffrent facilities the Dryden Flight Research Center where modern aircraft research is still active.

Web site: Edwards Air Force Base - http://www.edwards.af.mil/

Balloon launched list

DateHourFlight DurationExperimentPayload landing place or cause of the failure
1/24/195315:1521 h 20 mMOBY DICKNear Fountain, Colorado
1/26/195315:004 hMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 35.5º N - 114.6º W
1/28/195315:2030 h 40 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 27.5º N - 97.8º W
1/30/195315:1513 h 50 mMOBY DICKNear St. Petesburg, Florida
2/4/195315:1248 h 20 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 31.1º N - 81.2º W
2/6/195315:0013 hMOBY DICKNear Consulado, Mexico
2/7/195315:0029 hMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 30.2º N - 101.7º W
2/10/195316:3442 h 25 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 38.6º N - 89.8º W
2/11/195316:5081 h 10 mMOBY DICKNear Trinity, New Mexico, US
2/12/195316:567 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 33.8º N - 117.3º W
2/14/195320:2324 h 35 mMOBY DICK3 miles W of Goodlet, Texas
2/16/195317:0263 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 33.1º N - 83.1º W
2/18/195317:305 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.6º N - 114.5º W
2/19/195317:045 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 32.5º N - 112.7º W
2/22/195317:139 h 50 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.5º N - 114.4º W
2/25/195315:0537 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 37.5º N - 77.5º W
2/27/195316:4611 h 40 mMOBY DICK13 miles S of Woodward, Oklahoma, US
2/28/195316:3414 hMOBY DICKNear Ganado, Arizona
3/1/195317:1726 h 10 mMOBY DICK4 miles SW of Ashby, Nebraska
3/2/195316:5325 h 40 mMOBY DICKNear Crandon, Winsconsin
3/3/195317:009 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 36.3º N - 110.3º W
3/4/195317:1777 h 40 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 33.4º N - 90.2º W
3/5/195317:157 h 20 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 35.5º N - 111.8º W
3/7/195317:0551 h 55 mMOBY DICKOn the sea 630 miles E of Miami, Florida, US
3/8/195319:3425 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 39.6º N - 97.0º W
3/9/195317:2060 h 10 mMOBY DICK5 miles SW of Palmyra, Missouri
3/10/195317:4525 h 20 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 37.5º N - 105.0º W
3/11/195318:2522 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 40.9º N - 91.9º W
3/12/195317:0332 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 39.0º N - 106.3º W
3/15/195317:1531 h 20 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 37.0º N - 86.3º W
3/16/195316:5539 h 5 mMOBY DICKNear Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana
3/17/195317:0030 hMOBY DICKNear Lonaconing, Maryland
3/18/195317:2730 h 5 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 38.8º N - 84.8º W
3/24/195318:1822 h 10 mMOBY DICKIn the Clay County near Teges, Kentucky
3/28/195315:5438 h 5 mMOBY DICK8 miles E of New Albany, Mississippi
3/30/195317:0012 h 30 mMOBY DICK10 miles E of Fort Wayne, Indiana, US
4/1/195317:0427 h 25 mMOBY DICKIn Morse Hill, Missouri
4/2/195317:2331 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 36.6º N - 94.8º W
4/4/195316:2513 h 5 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 32.3º N - 116.6º W
4/9/195317:3816 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 36.7º N - 112.7º W
4/11/195315:3576 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 37.8º N - 75.7º W
4/13/195316:5525 h 5 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 35.8º N - 88.3º W
4/14/195317:488 h 12 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.3º N - 110.5º W
4/15/195316:556 h 35 mMOBY DICK5 miles E of Young, Arizona
4/17/195318:4268 h 50 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 46.9º N - 71.6º W
4/18/195315:5743 h 5 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 32.3º N - 81.9º W
4/20/195316:5783 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 35.2º N - 116.2º W
4/22/195317:5445 h 5 mMOBY DICK12 miles SE of Dekalb, Illinois, US
4/24/195317:1039 h 50 mMOBY DICK75 miles SSE of Tonopah, Nevada
4/25/195315:4554 h 50 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.3º N - 81.5º W
4/26/195314:3012 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.6º N - 113.2º W
4/29/195316:2315 h 5 mMOBY DICK12 miles W of Missoula, Montana, US
5/1/195316:0459 h 25 mMOBY DICK15 miles NE of Sainte Anne Dulac, Quebec, Canada
5/2/195315:0438 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 31.3º N - 112.7º W
5/3/195315:148 h 48 mMOBY DICKIn Plymouth, New York
5/9/195316:2281 h 35 mMOBY DICK26 miles W of Tucson, Arizona
5/13/195316:0845 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 41.3º N - 91.0º W
5/14/195315:5956 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 45.1º N - 84.8º W
5/15/195314:3255 hMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 44.7º N - 83.3º W
5/16/195316:1068 h 50 mMOBY DICKIn Cuervo, Guadalupe County, New Mexico, US
5/17/195315:3058 h 30 mMOBY DICKIn Beaver Harbour, New Brunswick, Canada
5/18/195315:4254 h 50 mMOBY DICKIn Panama City, Florida
5/20/195315:4055 h 50 mMOBY DICK6 miles E of Chula, Georgia
5/22/195315:4078 h 20 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 43.2º N - 74.0º W
5/24/195315:309 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 38.8º N - 111.8º W
6/3/195316:1217 h 20 mMOBY DICKIn Saratoga, Wyoming
6/5/195315:2228 h 5 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 36.6º N - 105.8º W
6/8/195316:309 hMOBY DICK3 miles N of Maywood, Nebraska
6/9/195315:5578 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 35.3º N - 75.3º W
6/11/195315:5431 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 50.3º N - 120.2º W
6/17/195316:0250 hMOBY DICKIn Kiowa, Colorado
6/20/195314:5564 h 35 mMOBY DICK10 miles SW of Belmont, Mississippi, US
6/21/195316:4251 h 20 mMOBY DICK36 miles NE of Sonora, Texas
6/27/195315:4580 h 20 mMOBY DICKIn Gap Mills, W Virginia
7/1/195316:0419 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 36.9º N - 116.4º W
7/3/195315:559 h 5 mMOBY DICK9 miles E of Portland, Tennessee
7/6/195315:5629 h 35 mMOBY DICK9 miles SW of Norfolk, Nebraska
7/14/195316:0057 h 30 mMOBY DICKIn Mojave, California
7/17/195315:5851 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.1º N - 122.0º W
7/31/195316:0016 h 5 mMOBY DICKIn Rhame, Bowman County, N Dakota
8/2/195314:1510 h 15 mMOBY DICK20 miles N of Zurich, Montana
8/4/195315:566 h 5 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 37.1º N - 115.9º W
8/12/195316:2026 h 10 mMOBY DICK4 miles SW of Albion, Nebraska
8/14/195315:557 h 35 mMOBY DICK10 miles NW of Wasatch, Utah, US
8/18/195316:0937 h 50 mMOBY DICK2 miles SW of Winowa, Kansas, US
8/21/195315:5152 h 10 mMOBY DICKIn Fort McCouitt, Texas
8/22/195314:4327 h 15 mMOBY DICKOn the Black Hills, South Dakota
8/25/195318:099 h 55 mMOBY DICK6 miles NW of Forrest City, Arkansas
8/27/195317:0811 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 38.2º N - 114.7º W
9/2/195316:0932 h 20 mMOBY DICKIn Jack Ward Township, New Mexico, US
9/8/195316:567 h 35 mMOBY DICKIn the Coyote dry lake, California
9/13/195314:5510 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 36.0º N - 117.8º W
9/16/195315:4765 h 42 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 37.4º N - 123.1º W
9/22/195317:0583 h 25 mMOBY DICK18 miles E of Le Grande, California, US
10/11/195318:1076 h 20 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 40.7º N - 122.0º W
10/16/195319:415 h 20 mMOBY DICKIn Gold Basin, Arizona
10/21/195318:4029 h 50 mMOBY DICK3 miles W of Appleton, Winsconsin
10/25/195316:3577 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 45.2º N - 68.3º W
10/26/195317:0370 hMOBY DICK70 miles N of Flagstaff, Arizona
10/28/195317:2778 h 35 mMOBY DICKIn Vermontville, Michigan
10/30/195317:536 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 33.3º N - 115.7º W
10/31/195315:388 h 25 mMOBY DICKIn Meeca, California
11/11/195316:577 h 35 mMOBY DICK30 miles N and 6 miles W of Kingman, Arizona
11/18/195316:5516 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.3º N - 108.8º W
11/28/195321:4729 h 10 mMOBY DICKIn Castello Branco, Fayal, Azores Islands
12/9/195317:0182 hMOBY DICKIn Half Moon Bay, Lake Ontario, Canada
12/11/195317:147 h 50 mMOBY DICKIn Mazatlan, Sinaloa State, Mexico
12/15/195316:5511 h 5 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.5º N - 110.0º W
1/7/195417:4528 h 20 mMOBY DICKIn Pitt County, N Carolina
1/28/195414:5136 h 10 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.3º N - 94.8º W
1/30/195416:1825 h 42 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 28.5º N - 102.0º W
2/9/195415:1149 h 50 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 32.6º N - 80.9º W
2/13/195417:0763 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 45.6º N - 85.8º W
2/17/195415:2716 h 35 mMOBY DICKIn Durham, Kansas
2/19/195414:5319 h 5 mMOBY DICK12 miles E of Clanton, Alabama, US
3/11/195417:2381 h 5 mMOBY DICK35 miles SE of Sasobe, State of Sonora, Mexico
3/15/195417:0583 h 25 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 44.6º N - 83.6º W
3/18/195415:0556 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 35.1º N - 104.4º W
3/19/195416:5560 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 30.6º N - 79.6º W
3/26/195417:0320 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 40.4º N - 81.3º W
3/27/195417:0819 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 32.8º N - 85.3º W
4/1/195417:1762 h 40 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 30.5º N - 75.8º W
4/2/195417:1557 h 50 mMOBY DICK30 miles SW of Ship Shoal Light, Gulf of Mexico
4/7/195417:1732 h 40 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 38.5º N - 87.6º W
4/10/195416:4832 h 40 mMOBY DICK9 miles SE of Bloom, Kansas
4/13/195416:3826 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.1º N - 102.7º W
4/15/195416:449 h 20 mMOBY DICKIn Long Beach, Long Island, New York
4/19/195417:059 h 25 mMOBY DICKIn the Cochise Dry Lake, Arizona
4/20/195416:4331 hMOBY DICK3 miles NW of Higbee, Missouri
4/22/195416:4032 h 50 mMOBY DICK4 miles W and 1 mile S of Indianola, Oklahoma
4/24/195416:397 h 25 mMOBY DICKIn the Atlantic Ocean at 31.1º N - 47.5º W
4/29/195415:4727 h 35 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 44.3º N - 100.1º W
5/3/195416:1340 h 20 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 27.0º N - 80.7º W
5/4/195415:5828 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 31.4º N - 78.3º W
5/6/195415:4033 h 20 mMOBY DICK74 miles SW of Tampa, Florida
5/8/195415:2841 h 30 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 28.7º N - 79.0º W
5/10/195415:3034 hMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 31.8º N - 80.4º W
5/11/195415:5228 h 10 mMOBY DICK3 miles NE of Galveston, Texas
5/12/195415:4760 h 15 mMOBY DICKIn Henefer, Utah
5/13/195415:5744 h 5 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 32.0º N - 80.3º W
5/14/195415:3545 h 55 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 29.2º N - 80.9º W
5/15/195421:1524 h 20 mMOBY DICKPayload lost. Last known position of the balloon in flight was 34.0º N - 119.7º W