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Rocket plane: The term now conjures images from vintage pulp sci-fi. But in a program that began years before Gagarin and Shepard launched the space race, NASA's X-15 research vehicle ambitiously arched towards the fringes of space, expanding the speed-and-altitude envelope of manned flight like none before it. In the course of a 199 flights over a decade, the X-15 became the first manned aircraft to rocket past Mach 4, 5 and 6; soared some 67 miles above the Earth (earning a handful of its dozen pilots their Astronaut wings, though ironically not Neil Armstrong, later first to set foot on the Moon); and crucially gathered the cornerstone data that enabled the Space Shuttle's return from space a couple decades later. Authors/historians/archivists Dennis Jenkins and Tony Landis have produced nothing short of a landmark history of the X-15's pioneering effort which, they argue, was the most productive flight test program ever)-- the first truly comprehensive chronicle of every phase of its pre-history, development, and often perilous journeys (USAF pilot Mike Adams was killed on one of the craft's final flights, while several others suffered injuries in mishaps). Fueled by an obvious passion for their subject, the authors skillfully boil a daunting body of history, technical data, and personalities down into an eminently accessible chronicle of technical achievement and human bravery. In doing so they've drawn on a wealth of documentary materials and interviews from pilots, NASA and USAF sources and key personnel from North American Aviation, the X-15's manufacturer. Pilots Scott Crossfield and Bill Dana (the first and last to fly the spaceplane, respectively) have also contributed written introductions. --Jerry McCulley
Full-page size blueprints with dimensions & close ups of all the X-15 markings. (For scratch-built modeling purposes). Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2004 by Joel
This is a fabulous book about the X-15, one of my favorite planes/spacecraft. It is full of beautiful illustrations and great text; it is an absolute must-have if you are in the... Read morePublished on July 31 2003 by JB
Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis have produced the best volume I've ever seen on the history of the X-15. Read morePublished on May 3 2003 by Kurt Duerksen