At the Edge of Space: The X-15 Flight Program

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Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992 - Technology & Engineering - 375 pages
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In At the Edge of Space, Milton O. Thompson, a pilot active in the X-15 program from beginning to end, tells the dramatic story of one of the most successful research aircraft ever flown. Initiated in the 1950s by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later NASA), the U.S. Air Force, and the Navy, the X-15 program tested the survivability of rocket-powered aircraft at hypersonic speeds and at the outermost limits of the earth's atmosphere. Nine phases of the program tested engine capabilities, altitude and speed capacity, and pilot ability, as well as experiments unrelated to the aircraft itself. Achieving hypersonic speeds, the X-15 aircraft also yielded design and materials data integral to the subsequent Apollo and space shuttle missions. The first full-length account of the X-15 program, At the Edge of Space profiles the twelve test pilots (Neil Armstrong, Joe Engle, Scott Crossfield, and the author among them) chosen for the program. Thompson has translated a highly technical subject into readable accounts of each pilot's participation, including many heroic and humorous anecdotes and highlighting the pilots' careers after the program ended in 1968.

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User Review  - rcorfield - LibraryThing

The X-15 programme ran from the late Fifties for a decade and finished in 1968. It was the latest in a line of experimental aircraft and it was designed to investigate hypersonic speeds and flight at ... Read full review

At the edge of space: the X-15 flight program

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The X-15 was perhaps the most famous of the X series of rocket planes designed to explore supersonic flight regimes. Thompson's engaging account of the joint U.S. Air Force/NASA program is part memoir ... Read full review


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