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T-38
Jet trainer used by NASA astronauts to maintain flight proficiency and to shuttle themselves around the country.

Surprisingly, NASA did not enforce any particular flight rules and the astronauts could do acrobatics, including dangerous one-on-one air combat training over the Gulf of Mexico. Non-pilots could take the controls from the trainer's back seat during these sessions. The likelihood of being killed in a T-38 crash was one reason a scientist-astronaut left the program in 1968. In fact, five astronauts would be killed in T-38 crashes over the years. Successive heads of the astronaut office had to constantly fight to keep the T-38's against headquarters pressure after each accident or astronaut high-jinks.





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