An Illustrated History of Aviation in Southern California (Part IV)

Relive the excitement of man’s first steps on the moon and the long journey it took to get there with 20 new hours of out of this world programming on KCET'sSummer of Space"  Watch out for “American Experience: Chasing the Moon” and a KCET-exclusive first look at "Blue Sky Metropolis," four one-hour episodes that examine Southern California’s role in the history of aviation and aerospace. 


As the Cold War fizzled out, military spending cuts and a newfound awareness of the environmental impact of the aviation and aerospace industries all but ended the seemingly endless production of military planes in California. Giants of the industry merged to stay afloat or left California entirely. At the same time, Hollywood and the entertainment industry eclipsed aerospace as the main industry in Southern California.

Yet, less than a decade after the USSR dissolved, work on an International Space station began, broadening the collaboration that earth’s scientists could do in space, and commercial satellites were positioned for the next global revolution, the Internet. In a century and some change since the Wright Brothers first flew over the dunes at Kitty Hawk, mankind proved that the sky was not the limit it once imagined. What shall we discover in the next century?

Blue Sky Metropolis timeline part 4 (1 of 3) | Henry Cram v2
Learn how the Ansari XPrize changed the game for space in the new century. Watch now.
Blue Sky Metropolis timeline part 4 (2 of 3) | Henry Cram
Blue Sky Metropolis timeline part 4 (3 of 3) | Henry Cram

1985: Rockwell B-1B Lancer bomber starts serving the U.S. Air Force

1989: First flight of Northrop B-2 bomber

1989: Space Shuttle launches Magellan probe to Venus; Galileo to Jupiter

1989: Berlin Wall falls

1991: USSR collapses

1995: American astronauts visit Russian Mir space station

1997: Mars Pathfinder lands first rover on Mars

1998: International Space Station under construction in orbit

2000s: GPS, satellite TV, cell phones boost commercial satellite market

2002: Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk founds SpaceX

2003: Space Shuttle Columbia and crew lost during re-entry

2004: Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne win first Ansari X Prize

2011: Last launch of Space Shuttle

2012: Shuttle Endeavour arrives in LA, on display at California Science Center


See previous timeline from 1960 to 1986. Click here.

Story continues below

We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading

Full Episodes