This is an unflown Q-ball nosecone, cutaway to show the internal components. Built by Northrup and Hydraulic Research Manufacturing Co., these nosecones were placed at the front of U.S. X-15 rocket powered aircraft and served as an inertial flight data system capable of functioning in a highly dynamic pressure environment. X-15s were flown from 1959-1968 and set the world's unofficial speed and altitude records of 4,250 mph (Mach 6.7) and 354,200 feet in a program to investigate all aspects of piloted hypersonic flight. This Q-ball was transferred to NASM by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in 1974.
Transferred from NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center.