X-15: The NASA Mission Reports, Incorporating Files from the USAF

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Robert Godwin
Apogee Books, 2000 - Science - 408 pages
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The history of aviation in the 20th century is filled with remarkable accomplishments. None more remarkable than the world's first winged spacecraft. From 1957 to 1975 the United States and the Soviet Union played a high stakes game as they put crew after crew atop barely-perfected missiles and hurled them further and further afield. In 1952, long before Sputnik, the NASA along with the United States Air Force and Navy determined to build an aircraft that would be capable of reaching into outer space. While the rest of the world continued to fly around in propeller-driven aircraft, North American Aviation of California constructed a one-seater bullet powered by a rocket engine with unparalleled thrust. When the craft was unveiled in 1958, the hypersonic vehicle was a bold as anything ever attempted in the history of flight. From 1959 to 1968 the three X-15s would carry twelve daring test-pilots to the fringes of space and bring them back nearly 200 times. With the notable exception of the Space Shuttle, the X-15 is the only manned, winged vehicle to go into space repeatedly and return to its point of origin. It is rarely noted that a mere four months after John Glenn became the first American in orbit, Major Robert White took the X-15 into space and then "flew" his vehicle back to a runway at Edwards' Air Force Base. Thanks to the engineers and to the ace pilots who flew the X-15, mountains of new information about hypersonic flight were uncovered. Much of this research was then successfully applied to Mercury and Apollo. An often forgotten part of the super-powers' competition, the unique black vehicle, flying high above the deserts of California and Utah, consistently broke every record in the book. Today many of those records will stand.

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User Review  - jfe16 - LibraryThing

Designed as a reference for NASA’s X-15 missions, the men who flew them, and the planes themselves. Pictures, diagrams, and details of each flight help to create a volume that provides readers with an ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books. He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series "The NASA Mission Reports." Robert has appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert on, not only music, but also space exploration. His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book "New Horizons" expands on that previous ground-breaking work.

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