After test pilot Bill Weaver crashed, he thought he had died. It turns out he was falling from the edge of outer space, after his SR-71 Blackbird spy plane had disintegrated at 79,000 feet.
The SR-71 Blackbird can travel at three times the speed of sound and at heights of 80,000 feet, at the very edge of space. But its greatest legacy is helping maintain peace when the world was on the brink of nuclear war. Even today, this marvel of engineering remains one of the fastest, highest-flying manned planes in the world. This is its remarkable history, through interviews with the men and women who built it and dared to fly it.
Watch this episode online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus. Check the availability of this title and explore our vast library of original documentaries and series.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.