SR-71 Blackbird

The SR-71 Blackbird flew reconnaissance missions starting in 1966 at speeds exceeding Mach 3 and altitudes of 85,000 feet. (Lockheed Martin Corp. / June 21, 2013)

Few places in the aerospace industry are as revered as Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Skunk Works.

For decades, employees at the secretive site have designed and built the some of the most innovative military aircraft ever built.

The U-2 spy plane. The SR-71 Blackbird. The F-117 Nighthawk.

It got its nickname in 1943 at its original Burbank headquarters, which was located next to a manufacturing plant that produced a strong odor.

This week, the shadowy weapons development facility in Palmdale silently celebrated its 70th anniversary.

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