Flight after the Cold War Timeline

Voyager was an all-composite aircraft designed by Burt Rutan. His brother Dick Rutan made the first flight on June 22, 1984. See more pictures of flight.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

January 12, 1984 The U.S. Marines get the first McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier IIs, which will be used in the Persian Gulf War.

January 21, 1984 The Air Force successfully fires an ASAT (antisatellite) missile from an F-15 over the Pacific.

January 25, 1984 In his State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan calls for building a space station.

Flight Pictures 

February 3-11, 1984 Space Shuttle Challenger is launched. It tests the Manned Maneuvering Unit, in which astronaut Bruce McCandless orbits, untethered, around the shuttle.

February 24, 1984 The General Dynamics F-16XL is defeated by the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle in competition.

March 6, 1984 The comeback of lighter-than-air craft is signaled by the first flight of the British Airship Industries Skyship.

March 31, 1984 The last Avro Vulcan is removed from RAF service.

April 6-13, 1984 The Space Shuttle Challenger mission makes the first on-orbit satellite repair of Solar Max.

May 15, 1984 A consortium of Aeritalia/Aermacchi/EMBRAER creates the AMX close-support aircraft, which makes its first flight. On a subsequent flight 15 days later, it crashes, killing the pilot.

June 22, 1984 Voyager flies for the first time.

June 22, 1984 Virgin Airlines launches operations.

July 17-19, 1984 The 100th human space flight occurs with the launch of the Soviet Soyuz T-12.

July 25, 1984 Svetlana Savitskaya becomes the first woman to make a space walk, from Salyut 7.

August 4, 1984 European space flight exploration continues with the launch of Ariane 3 from French Guinea.

August 14, 1984 The last of 1,832 Boeing 727s is rolled out in Renton, Washington.

August 29, 1984 A Rockwell International B-1A crashes.

August 30, 1984 The Space Shuttle Discovery is launched on its maiden flight.

September 14-18, 1984 Joe Kittinger, famous for high-altitude parachute drops, makes the first nonstop solo balloon flight across the Atlantic.

October 5, 1984 The Space Shuttle Challenger is launched.

The Rockwell B-1B bomber had one of the longest and most controversial development periods. After a rocky start, the swing-wing Mach 1.25 B-1B has done an outstanding job.
Peter M. Bowers Collection

October 18, 1984 The Rockwell International B-1B makes its first flight. One hundred are ordered.

November 8-16, 1984 The Space Shuttle Discovery makes its second flight.

December 14, 1984 The Grumman X-29 technology demonstrator, with forward swept wings, makes its first flight.

January 24-27, 1985 The Space Shuttle Discovery conducts a classified defense assignment; military aviation has melded with space flight.

March 21, 1985 The RAF selects EMBRAER Tucano as its new basic trainer.

April 12-19, 1985 The Space Shuttle Discovery carries Senator Jake Garn into orbit.

April 29-May 6, 1985 The Space Shuttle Challenger launches with Spacelab 3.

May 29, 1985 The Soviet Union unveils the world's largest airplane, the Antonov An-124 heavy transport, at the Paris air show.

June 11, 1985 The Soviet Vega-1 spacecraft is sent to rendezvous with Halley's Comet.

June 17-24, 1985 The Space Shuttle Discovery is launched with two foreign astronauts, Patrick Baudry of France and Sulton Abdelazizi Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia.

July 29-August 6, 1985 The Space Shuttle Challenger is launched; it experiences the first major in-flight emergency of shuttle history when one main engine shuts down during ascent.

August 12, 1985 The world's worst aircraft disaster to date occurs when a Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 crashes into the mountains. Japan Air Lines later faults Boeing quality control for the accident.

August 18, 1985 The Japa­nese launch a space probe for a flyby of Halley's Comet.

August 27-September 3, 1985 Space Shuttle Discovery is launched; it deploys three satellites and repairs another.

September 10, 1985 The Lockheed C-5B Galaxy makes its first flight.

September 13, 1985 An ASAT missile fired from an F-15 successfully intercepts an orbiting satellite.

September 30, 1985 Italians acquire a new aircraft carrier for helicopters and VSTOL aircraft, the Giuseppe Garibaldi.

October 3-7, 1985 The Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched on its maiden flight; it sets a new shuttle altitude record with an orbit of 1,725,000 miles.

October 30-November 6, 1985 Space Shuttle Challenger is launched with German and Dutch astronauts as part of the largest (eight-member) crew in history.

November 15, 1985 The last independant general aviation manufacturer -- Cessna -- is purchased by General Dynamics.

November 26-December 3, 1985 Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched in an experiment with space station structures.

December 17, 1985 On the 82nd anniversary of the Wright Brothers flight, the Douglas DC-3 celebrates its 50th birthday. Approximately 400 are still in use.

December 28, 1985 The U.S. Pioneer 12 probe passes within 25,000,000 miles of Halley's Comet.