Rocket Racer Takes Flight at TASM

The Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium hires former Navy fighter pilot and Rocket Racing League team owner Jim Bridenstein as executive director.
The museum will introduce the Jenks High School graduate at a news conference Friday.
Bridenstine brings to TASM, 3624 N. 74th East Ave., a tremendous knowledge of flight operations.
After graduating from Rice University, Bridenstine became a naval aviator, flying E-2C Hawkeyes off the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. He flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and gathered most of his 1,500 flight hours and 333 carrier arrested landings while serving on the carrier. Bridenstine transitioned to the F-18C, became a tactics instructor, and had the opportunity to fly with America’s elite TOPGUN pilots.
He also brings to TASM an inside perspective of the burgeoning private spaceflight industry. Bridenstein, with his wife, Michelle, owns a team within the new Rocket Racing League, which plans competitive events where the pilots will fly manned, rocket-powered aircraft in a three dimensional track in the sky.
Bridenstine sees his affiliation with the RRL to be synergistic with TASM.
“In times past, when naval aviators like Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong flew into space, kids would stay home from school and cheer for the American heroes,” he said. “This tradition has been lost, but TASM, like the RRL, is uniquely positioned to re-introduce youth to the exciting world of flight and space. When you show a child the possibilities, there is no limit to what they will pursue.”
Bridenstine also sees the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium as a link between the past and the future.
“Tulsa’s rich aviation heritage cannot be separated from the factory workers who built bombers in Tulsa’s Air Force Plant No. 3 or the veterans who fought and continue to fight for our freedom. This museum serves to honor all those who have contributed to our freedom, especially those who never came home,” he said. “It is important for Tulsa’s youth to spend time with TASM’s volunteers, many of whom are veterans.



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