Operation Desert Storm began on Jan. 17, 1991, initiating 25 years of continuous combat operations for the United States Air Force. Some 2,000 US aircraft participated in the operation, which lasted just 42 days. During Desert Storm, space systems provided warfighters with satellite communications connectivity both in theater and between the battlefield and the continental United States. It also provided positioning and timing data for ground and air operations, weapons delivery, meteorological data, overhead imagery, and missile warning data. In this photo, an F-15C from Bitburg AB, Germany, two F-15Es from Seymour-Johnson AFB, N.C., an F-16A from the New York Air Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing at Syracuse, and an F-16A from the South Carolina Air Guard’s 169th FW fly over the Kuwaiti oil fields that Saddam’s forces set on fire before leaving Kuwait. Air Force Magazine is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the momentous air campaign with 25 pictures from Desert Storm. (Photos courtesy of US Air Force.)
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.