In the summer of 1966, New York Central Railroad engineer Don Wetzel and his team sought out to build a train that could travel at 200 mph. Given just 30 days to do so, the team bottled a pair of GE J47-19 jet engines to a railcar, and, on a clear day in July, broke a North American speed record that still stands today. We recently caught up with Wetzel at his home to hear more about the experimental vehicle. Check out the video above and learn more about the jet-powered train here.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon. The giant leap was made possible by decades of scientific research, rigorous testing, and new innovations spearheaded by NASA with collaborations by many other groups and organizations, one of which was GE. Among other contributions to the technology of the Apollo program, GE researchers developed a special silicon rubber for the astronaut’s boots. This week, to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the moon landing, GE, Android Homme and JackThreads collaborated on a new sneaker called The Missions, which Buzz Aldrin is wearing in the picture above. The sneakers feature lightweight carbon fiber used for jet engine components, and a hydrophobic coating similar to the materials that prevent ice from forming on wind turbines. Read more about the collaboration at GE Reports.
From developing the first whole-body MRI scanner in the 1980s, to today’s glimpses at the human brain, researchers at GE Global Research continue to pioneer in the field of medical imaging. The above image was sequenced using a GE MR750, 3 Tesla MRI scanner, and displays white matter connections in the brain. It was created using an imaging technique developed at GE Global Research called compressed-sensing diffusion spectrum imaging, which could one day allow researchers to more fully understand diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to depression.
Read more about the future of brain imaging at GE Reports. Image credit: Luca Marinelli, Ek Tsoon Tan.
On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. Her first mission was on the space shuttle Challenger for STS-7, NASA’s seventh Space Shuttle mission, which she completed at age 32. Today, she remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space.
William D. Coolidge with his hot-cathode, high vacuum X-ray tube. Coolidge was working in the GE research laboratory in the early 1900s when he invented an improvement to the X-ray tube that allowed for better visualization of tumors and the interior of patient’s anatomy. “Coolidge tubes” were a major development in radiology, which was then an emerging medical field, and their basic design is still in use today. He later became director of the GE research laboratory in 1932, and a vice-president of GE in 1940.
When GE designed this electric flying suit for the U.S. Air Corps, pressurized airplane cabins were not yet in use. At high altitudes, cabins could reach temperatures capable of freezing flesh to metal.
The image above shows a test of a GE electric flying suit at 63 degrees below zero in a cold room at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey in 1941. The test was carried out on “Copper Man,” a life-size dummy created to spare human volunteers the discomfort of testing the suit’s extremes.
Head to GE Reports to read the story behind the suit, including how its technology went from D-Day and, later on, into electric blankets for relaxing postwar sleep.
On May 22, 1906, Orville and Wilbur Wright’s historic patent was granted for “new and useful improvements to the flying machine.” These improvements included using the technique of wing warping to achieve lateral control. The effect that wing warping had on early flying machines is akin to the performance effect of adjusting the wing tips up and down on a paper airplane.
Read more about aviation history, from the Wright Brothers to America’s first jet engine, at GE Reports.