UNVEILING THE X-15 (Feb, 1959)
And yes, both the Air Force and NASA say it went into space.
UNVEILING THE X-15
Model: North American X-15, a manned, hypersonic research aircraft. Length: 50 it. Height: 13 ft.
Wing area: 200 sq. ft. in a 25° sweep-back. Weight at launching: 31,275 lbs. Cargo: Pilot plus 1,300 lbs. of instruments. Fabrication: Inconel-X, titanium and stainless steel to withstand temperatures in excess of 1,000°F.
Engine: Initial tests with two Reaction Motors XLR-11 engines. Test flight with single Reaction Motors XLR-99 Pioneer rocket engine.
Fuel: LOX and liquid ammonia. Thrust: 50,000 lbs. Speed: 3,600 mph.
Landing gear: Dual nose wheel and rear skids.
Assignments: To research flight conditions beyond the earth’s atmosphere. To increase knowledge of aerodynamic heating and heat transfer. To provide answers on control requirements for vehicles operating in a near vacuum.
Test flight date: February, 1959. Pilot: Scott Crossfield, North American test pilot. The X-15 will then be turned over to NASA and Air Force pilots for further tests. Cost: Under Navy, Air Force and NASA contracts through 1960—$121,500,000.
FIRST ROLL-OUT, at top of page, shows X-15 on dual nose wheels and temporary rear dolly. Left above, exhaust of twin XLR-11 engines. Below, actuator of bottom speed brake.
NOSE CONTOUR and trailing edges of wings are surprisingly blunt. In flight, pitch and yaw will be controlled by small ballistic rockets set into nose and wingtips. Bottom part of tail was taken off for rollout. will be replaced for flight. Only movable surfaces on the wings are the flaps.
DROP LAUNCHING is shown in drawing below. After release from B-52, the X-15 will rocket upward to 100-mile altitude.