Today in History: Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to break the sound barrier

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'Hardcore Heroes': Chuck Yeager Is the First Man to Break the Sound Barrier

On this day in 1947, US Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager becomes the first individual to break the sound barrier.

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Yeager was born in West Virginia in 1923 and became a combat fighter during World War II. He flew 64 missions over Europe and shot down 13 German planes until he too was shot down and managed to escape capture. He was one of the few individuals chosen to test an experimental rocket plane to explore the possibility of flying faster than sound. This is a goal that has intrigued humankind for years and many believed that it was not possible due to the limitations of the body and of the materials used to build the aircrafts, but on October 14, 1947, Yeager changed their mind.

GALLERY: Look at Yeager's achievement through these historical photographs
Chuck Yeager through his life
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Today in History: Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to break the sound barrier
Captain Charles E Yeager standing next to the Air Force's Bell X-1 supersonic research aircraft, Muroc Army Air Force Base, California, October 1947. Yeager named it the Glamorous Glennis after his wife. He became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound on October 14, 1947. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
Capt. Chuck Yeager is seen, 1947. (AP Photo)
U.S. Force Major Charles âChuckâ Yeager, left, and Miss Jacqueline Cochran, winners of this yearâs Harmon International Aviation Awards as the worldâs outstanding aviator and aviatrix, shown, July 4, 1954. Maj. Yeager was honored for his piloting the X-1A rocket-powered experimental aircraft to a speed of more than 1,600 miles per hour; Miss Cochran for becoming the first woman ever to break through the sound barrier and for many speed records. (AP Photo)
Maj. Chuck Yeager of the U.S. is seen at Frankfurt Rhine Main Air Base in Germany, Feb. 5, 1955. (AP Photo/Albert Riethausen)
American aviator Charles 'Chuck' Yeager (left), the unofficial fastest man on earth meets the official fastest man on earth, British aviator Peter Twiss, April 20, 1956. Twiss flew at 1,132 miles an hour while Yeager flew some five hundred miles faster. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
American Air Force Colonel Charles 'Chuck' Yeager holding a model of the Bell X-1 aircraft he flew 15 years ago to become the first person to break the sound barrier, New York City, New York, October 18, 1962. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Col. Chuck Yeager is seen, 1962. (AP Photo)
Susie Yeager plants a kiss on the cheek of her supersonic son, Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager, the man who broke the sound barrier back in 1947, Oct. 14, 1973, Hamlin, West Virginia. (AP Photo)
Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier in 1947, poses in front of the rocket-powered Bell X-IE plane that he flew at Edwards Air Force Base on Sept. 4, 1985. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
General Chuck Yeager and Capt. Terri Jones, right, pose together during a party in their honor at Tramps in Los Angeles, Feb. 6, 1986. Jones is the youngest female to be licensed to pilot a Boeing 707. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Retired Air Force General Chuck Yeager, left, is seen with Gov. Arch Moore Jr. of West Virginia, at a news conference in Washington, Feb. 10, 1986. (AP Photo/Tom Reed)
Gen. Chuck Yeager smiles as he takes part in the 83rd annual celebration of the Wright Brothers first flight in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Dec. 17, 1986. Earlier he set a speed record of 5 1/2 hours from Edwards Air Force Base in California in a Piper Cheyenne 400 LS to North Carolina. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)
EDWARDS, CA - CIRCA 1986: General Chuck Yeager poses during a portrait session circa 1986 at Edwards Air Force Base near Edwards, California. Yeager became the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound on October 14, 1947. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
LS.Yeager.1.0917.BY Brig.Gen.Chuck Yeager (cq) ready to hop into a flight suit at Edwards Air Force Base. (Photo by Boris Yaro/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
General Chuck Yeager poses next to a model of the Bell X-1 plane that he used to break the sound barrier for the first time in 1947, at the 20th anniversary of the film "The Right Stuff" at the Egyptian Theater in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, Monday, June 9, 2003. Yeager named the plane "Glamorous Glennis" in honor of his wife. Winner of four Academy Awards, the epic film charted the birth of the U.S. space program. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
(AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Avalon International Airshow 2007. The first man to break the sound barrier, Charles ChucK Yeager. 20 March, 2007. THE AGE NEWS Picture by JASON SOUTH. (Photo by Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 1: General Chuck Yeager speaks at the 2009 California Hall of Fame Inductee Ceremony at the California Musuem on December 1, 2009 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager gives a thumbs up to the crowd during the Veterans Day parade in Sacramento, Calif. Friday Nov. 11, 2011. Yeager, who was the first man to break the sound barrier, was the grand marshall of the parade.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Yeager, center, poses for photos with pilots David Vincent, right, and Pete Ford, left, following a re-enactment flight commemorating Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier 65 years ago on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Yeager straps into an F-15D for a re-enactment flight commemorating his breaking of the sound barrier 65 years ago on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

A B-29 aircraft lifted Yeager in his X-1 plane to 25,000 feet and then released him through the bomb bay. The pilot reached a speed of 662 miles per hour, which is the sound barrier at that altitude. Even thought he mission was a success, the project was kept secret until 1948, when the achievement was announced .

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