This is a Northrop T-38 Talon ramjet taken on a nice sunrise in Texas. The T-38 is a very popular jet airplane used for training around the world, and NASA astronauts train in T-38’s routinely:
I presume this is because Astronauts need to be to familiar with flying at very high speeds using complex equipment.
I never knew that NASA astronauts train in jets until recently when I read issue #13 of the Japanese manga uchū kyōdai (宇宙兄弟), which I talked about recently here among other places. In this issue, the main character Namba Mutta is now a member of JAXA (Japan’s equivalent of NASA) and is training in Texas in a T-38. As part of the training, Mutta’s instructor closes the canopy, so they can’t see outside. Mutta has to learn how to navigate the jet using the equipment only, and without crashing into other jets or the water below. Plus he has to get used to the powerful G-forces on his body, which could make him go unconscious or just get very sick to his stomach (which he does).
Then a week later, I saw the photo by Mr. Fischer. It was such a coincidence I had to write about it. Thanks to Mr. Fischer and his fellow Astronauts for sharing their cool experiences to a new generation. 🙂