View 319: X-15 Spaceplane

X-15 #1 on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

X-15 #1 on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 1600, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

The X-15 was a rocket-powered aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the early 1960’s. The X-15 set speed and altitude records reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. Another version of the X-15 still holds the official world record for the highest speed ever reached by a manned aircraft. Its maximum speed was 4,520 miles per hour (7,274 km/h) or Mach 6.72 meaning it went 6.72 times the speed of sound.

A larger version of the X-15 was considered for the first United States (US) orbital flight. I sometimes wonder if NASA had gone in this direction how much different the space program might have gone.  X-15 flights started in 1959 some 22 years before the first Space Shuttle mission.

The National Air and Space Museum has the historic X-15 #1 on display which was first piloted by Neil Armstrong who later became the first Man to walk on the Moon.

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2 Responses to View 319: X-15 Spaceplane

  1. Dawn says:

    Love that museum… have spent countless hours wandering around looking at the exhibits.


  2. Gerry says:

    That is very cool. LaMirada Bob would’ve loved it.


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