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Five Stars in Space: Hap Arnold's Rank Insignia Orbit the Earth

These 5-star general's insignia belonged to Henry "Hap" Arnold, and they flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2011. Flying Arnold's insignia in space symbolized the U.S. Air Force's drive to expand the limits of technology. In 1945 Gen. Arnold anticipated that spaceflight would eventually become a reality -- but perhaps he never dreamed that something of his own would one day orbit the earth.

Arnold was a key founder of the Air Force. He led the USAF to embrace science to meet future challenges, and Air Force worldwide leadership in aerospace technology is Arnold's proud legacy.

Hap Arnold (1886-1950) was the USAF's only 5-star general, and he served for 42 years. The Wright brothers taught him to fly, and he later commanded the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II. Gen. Arnold's efforts laid the foundation for modern USAF research and development and other important functions.

Space Shuttle Endeavour, carrying Arnold's insignia, flew its final mission from May 16-June 1, 2011. Shuttle Pilot Col. Greg Johnson (USAF, Ret.) carried the insignia into space for the Air Force, and returned them to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 20, 2011, during a special ceremony.

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Related Fact Sheets
Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold
Dr. Jeff Underwood: "Hap Arnold: Air Force Visionary" (00:58:05)
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