AOH :: X15INFO.TXT|
History of the X-15 aircraft DL
X-15, WORLD'S FIRST HYPERSONIC RESEARCH AIRCRAFT
The X-15 was a small rocket-powered aircraft, 50 feet long
with a wingspan of 22 feet. It had a conventional fuselage, but
an unusual wedge-shaped vertical tail, thin stubby wings and
unique side fairings that extended along the fuselage. The X-15
weighed about 14,000 pounds empty and approximately 34,000 pounds
at launch. The rocket engine, which was controlled by the pilot,
was capable of developing 60,000 pounds of thrust.
The X-15 research aircraft was developed to provide inflight
information and data on aero-thermodynamics, aerodynamics,
structures, flight controls and the physiological aspects of
high-speed, high-altitude flight. A follow-on program utilized
the aircraft as a testbed to carry various scientific experiments
beyond the Earth's atmosphere on a repeated basis.
For flight in the dense air of the usable atmosphere, the X-
15 utilized conventional aerodynamic controls. For flight
outside of the appreciable Earth's atmosphere, the X-15 used a
ballistic control system. Eight hydrogen peroxide thrust
rockets, located on the nose of the aircraft controlled pitch and
yaw. Four other rockets were located on the wings for roll
Because of the rapid fuel consumption, the X-15 was air-
launched from under the wing of a B-52 aircraft at 45,000 feet at
a speed of about 500 miles per hour. Depending on the mission
and engine throttle setting, the rocket engine provided thrust
for the first 80 to 120 seconds of flight. The remainder of the
normal 10-11 minute flight was powerless and ended with a 200
mile-per-hour glide landing.
Usually, one of two types of X-15 flight profiles were
flown: a high-altitude flight plan that called for the pilot to
climb steeply after launch or a speed profile that called for the
pilot to push over and maintain a level altitude. First flown
June 8, 1959, the three X-15 aircraft made 199 powered flights,
concluding with the last flight on Oct. 24, 1968. Flight
maximums of 354,200 feet in altitude and a speed of 4,520 miles
per hour were obtained.
The airframe manufacturer was North American Rockwell,
Inc. Thiokol Chemical Corp. manufactured the power plant. The
program was a joint NASA-USAF-USN effort.
Three X-15 aircraft were built. The number 1 aircraft now
is displayed in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum,
Washington, D.C. Aircraft number 2 is on display at the Air
Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The third
aircraft was destroyed in a fatal accident in November 1967.
Total cost of the X-15 program, including development of the
three aircraft, was about $300 million.
- end -
The entire AOH site is optimized to look best in Firefox® 3 on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986- AOH
We do not send spam. If you have received spam bearing an artofhacking.com email address, please forward it with full headers to firstname.lastname@example.org.