This post is mostly about the X-15, but I notice this little fellow in the news as well today. It's a short read with a picture.
Anyway, on to the X-15. First the good stuff which is this video. As you can see, this fabulously beautiful air/spacecraft was carried aloft by another fabulously beautiful aircraft, the B-52, which after 60 years still causes knees to knock all over the enemy-sphere. The X-15 itself flew from 1959 to 1968 and would achieve a height of 67 miles and speed of Mach 6.7.
The X-15 presentation lasts 6:10 and the rest of the video goes on to talk about the contributions leading up to landing on the moon, which are interesting also.
Notice the chase planes are F-104 Starfighters. The X-15 work contributed to every exceptional high speed aircraft used since, as well as the space shuttle of course.
Here are some more pictures, these first two are from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. They'll get bigger if you click on them.
The Pilots - From Here
- The 12 pilots of NASA, the Air Force, Navy, and North American Aviation who flew in the program are listed in the order of their first flights, along with their total flight numbers.
- A. Scott Crossfleld, NAA, 14 flights
- Joseph A. Walker, NASA, 25 flights
- Robert M. White, USAF, 16 flights
- Forrest S. Petersen, USN, 5 flights
- John B. McKay, NASA, 29 flights
- Robert A. Rushworth, USAF, 34 flights
- Neil A. Armstrong, NASA, 7 flights
- Joe H. Engle, USAF, 16 flights
- Milton 0. Thompson, NASA, 14 flights
- William J. Knight, USAF, 16 flights
- William H. Dana, NASA, 16 flights
- Michael J. Adams, USAF, 7 flights
Notice Neil Armstrong, the man to land first on the moon at Tranquility base.
This site is NASA's photo collection
Here are a few but many more are on the site.
Being towed into service..
Hanging on the B52 prior to launch. What a ride..
The cockpit reminds me of my first go cart that I built...
Neil Armstrong posing with the beauty after a test flight...
After engine failure caused pilot Jack McKay to land at Mud Lake, Nevada. A Prang as the British would say.
None of the pilots were ever hurt, but a couple got itchy butts apparently....
UPDATE: GO HERE for a sheet of thumbnails that you can click on and get high resolution images. Much Better Pictures.