XXVII.

From The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe:

One of the phrases that kept running through the conversation was “pushing the outside of the envelope.”  The “envelope” was a flight-test term referring to the limits of a particular aircraft’s performance, how tight a turn it could make at such-and-such a speed, and so on.  “Pushing the outside,” probing the outer limits, of the envelope seemed to be the great challenge and satisfaction of flight test.  At first “pushing the outside of the envelope” was not a particularly terrifying phrase to hear.  It sounded once more as if the boys were just talking about sports.

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