On 24 October 1974, the U.S. Air Force successfully conducted an Air Mobile Feasibility Test when C-5A Galaxy 69-0014 (this aircraft!) air dropped an 86,000-lb Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from 20,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. The missile descended to 8,000 feet under a parachute before its rocket engine fired. The 10-second engine burn carried the missile to 20,000 feet again before it dropped into the ocean. The test proved the feasibility of launching an ICBM from the air. Due to engineering and security difficulties, however, the program was not continued. In the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), the capability was used as a negotiating point.
In 1973, 69-0014 was the first factory-new C-5A assigned to Dover AFB, Delaware, and on 20 October 2013 it moved to the AMC Museum marking the first time a C-5 was retired to a museum.
As the Air Force’s largest strategic airlifter, the C-5 Galaxy can carry more cargo farther distances than any other aircraft. With a payload of six Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) or up to five helicopters, the C-5 can haul twice as much cargo as any other airlifter.
The C-5 entered operational service in 1970 and has been a vital asset in every military operation since that time including the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom. It has also been essential in humanitarian relief efforts including Hurricane Katrina and tsunami and earthquake relief. With a service life that stretches beyond 2040, the C-5 will remain a central figure in strategic airlift for decades to come.
C-5A Galaxy 69-0014 Arriving, August 7, 2013