b52-04 North American X-15 Under B-52 Mothership
8 x 10 Photograph on Fujifilm photographic paper
The North American X-15 rocket powered aircraft aloft under the wing of its B-52 Stratofortress Mothership. A T-38 is also pictured flying chase. The X-15 was air launched from the NB-52B mothership at 45,000 ft and a speed of about 500 mph.
Starting in 1959 the North American Aviation X-15 made 199 flights from the NASA High Speed Flight Station (later remaned Dryden Flight Research Center) at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The X-15 was powered by a throttleable XLR99 rocket engine wich produced 57,000 pounds of thrust. The rocket plane flew as high as 354,200 feet and reached a speed of Mach 6.7 (4,540 mph).
Until the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981, the X-15 held the world altitude and speed records for winged aircraft. X-15 pilots included Scott Crossfield, Joe Walker, Neil Armstrong, Bob White, Mike Adams, Robert Rushworth, Jack McKay, Pete Knight, Milt Thompson, Bill Dana, and Joe Engle.
X-15-1, serial number 56-6670, is now located at the National Air and Space museum, Washington DC.
North American X-15A-2, serial number 56-6671, is at the United States Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
The X-15-3, serial number 56-6672, crashed on November 15th 1967, resulting in the death of Major Michael J ... read more