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North American X-15 Specs

In 1959 NASA and the USAF began testing one of the fasted manned aircraft ever built. The North American X-15 would be the first aircraft to go Mach 4, 5, and 6. It would also be the first winged aircraft to travel above 100,000 feet. In one test it reached an altitude of 67 miles above the earth. To do this it had reaction rockets designed in its nose to keep control at those extreme altitudes. Flight tests usually began with the X-15 being dropped from a B-52 at 40,000 ft and then engaging its rocket motor.

The pinnacle of these flights occured in 1967 when it reached Mach 6.72. These test flights greatly advanced the knowledge of high speed, high altitude, and high temperature flight. It contributed to aviation, space, and many other material science programs. Even the basic shape of most supersonic aircraft's fuselage is borrowed from the X-15. The X-15 program truly led the way to today's amazing aviation milestones.

Function:         Experimental
Contractor:         North American
Power Plant:         Thiokol XLR099-RM-2 Rocket w/ 57,000 lbs of thrust
Length:         51 ft
Height:         13 ft
Wingspan:         22 ft
Speed:         Mach 6.72
Crew:         one
Deployment Date:         1959