The fabulously exhilarating and perfectly pioneering North American X-15.
As a young boy when it was introduced, I adored and doted over this thing. I built a lot of models back then, but this one, well, this was “the one,” you know?
I think it was the styling of it, all the wings at the back and painted jet black, so radically different for an airplane back then. And definitely not least there was the fact that it was playing a big part in the study of space.
Alongside the U.S. Air Force, we implemented the X-15 hypersonic aircraft during the 1950s and 1960s to improve aircraft and spacecraft.
The X-15 is capable of speeds exceeding Mach 6 (4,500 mph) at altitudes of 67 miles, reaching the very edge of space.
Dubbed the “finest and most productive research aircraft ever seen,” the X-15 was officially retired on October 24, 1968. The information collected by the X-15 contributed to the development of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs.
To learn more about how we have revolutionized aeronautics, watch our Leading Edge of Flight video.
— NASA 60th Anniversary tumblr post
Space! Yes, I was out there even then…
It might have played a part in my becoming a techno geeko prodigy, I don’t know, but, I bet it did.
It was simply too cool for words. Kind of still is, you dig?