HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — It is one of the most iconic aircraft to ever take to the sky and the fastest.

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson will be celebrating the legacy of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The public is invited to Operation: Blackbird Celebration on Oct. 14 and 15 at the Cosmosphere.

The SR-71 remains the world’s fastest manned air-breathing jet. Flying at 3 times the speed of sound and on the edge of space at 85,000 feet, the jet was used for ariel reconnaissance and later in life for research and engineering. Due to its speed, if spotted by enemy radar, the jet could simply outfly any missile sent after it. In 1995, an entire wing of the Cosmosphere was constructed around a decommissioned SR-71.

Pilots, crew, and mechanics who worked in the SR-71 program will be on hand for the celebrations. Festivities begin with a meet and greet in Cosmosphere’s Grand Lobby under the SR-71 on Friday, Oct. 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, there is a full day of activities that include panel presentations with SR-71 experts and a book signing with SR-71 Instructor Pilot, Squadron Commander, Wing Commander, and Author, Col. Richard Graham. Graham’s hardcover book, The Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird, contains over 400 photos and is available now, along with unique SR-71 gifts, patches, and memorabilia in the Cosmosphere gift shop.

For a full schedule of free public events for Operation: Blackbird, visit operationblackbird2022.org.