The sleek and sinister SR-71 Blackbird looks like it belongs in a science fiction movie, though in fact the jet black spy plane proved far more successful at outrunning enemy missiles than any of the spaceships depicted in Star Wars. Though retired in the 1990s  in favor of spy satellites and recon drones, it doesn’t look like any modern designs are likely to challenge the Blackbird’s record as the fastest manned aircraft ever.
As Cold War tensions heightened during the 1950s, the CIA began flying the U-2 spy plane to keep tabs on the Soviet Union’s fast expanding nuclear weapons capabilities. Ungainly and relatively slow-moving, the U-2 relied upon its ability to fly at extremely high altitudes to avoid enemy fighters and early surface-to-air missiles.
The intelligence provided by U-2s in 1962 uncovered the Soviet nuclear missiles deployed to Cuba, leading to the dramatic events of the Cuban Missile Crisis. But the U-2s also provoked diplomatic incidents because