North American X-15

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is the undercarriage and the flow direction sensor of the North American x-15.

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is the flow direction sensor of the North American x-15.

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    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is the pitot tube from the North American x-15.

    3 of 70

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    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is the APU Exhaust from the North American x-15.

    4 of 70

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    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is a caution label on the North American x-15

    5 of 70

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    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is a Close up of the North American x-15.

    6 of 70

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    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is an ejection seat label on the North American x-15.

    7 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is rescue label and nose of the North American x-15.

    8 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is Label for the Hydrogen Release Vent on the North American x-15.

    9 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are sensors and landing lights of the North American x-15.

    10 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are details of the undercarriage of the North American X-15.

    11 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are details of the North American X-15.

    12 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are details of the North American X-15.

    13 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are sensors of the North American X-15

    14 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are sensors of the North American X-15.

    15 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are sensors of the North American X-15.

    16 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are sensors of the North American X-15.

    17 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are rocket engine with H202 label on the North American X-15.

    18 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are details of the North American X-15.

    19 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are details of the North American X-15.

    20 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are the rocket engine of the North American X-15.

    21 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are the rocket engine and a beware of blast label of the North American X-15.

    22 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image are exhaust pipes on the North American X-15.

    23 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    24 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    25 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    26 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    27 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    28 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    29 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    30 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    31 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    32 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    33 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    34 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    35 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    36 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    37 of 70

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    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    38 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    39 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

    40 of 70

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15, rocket powered experimental aircraft; black titanium skin with wedge shaped horizontal stablizer; yellow stripe NASA inisignia on tail with stars and red bars United States national insignia on wings; white letter text "U.S. AIR FORCE" on the sides of the fuselage.

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is the North American X-15 displayed at the National Mall Building.

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is the undercarriage of North American x-15.

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    North American X-15 in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

    The North American X-15, a rocket-powered research aircraft, bridged the gap between manned flight in the atmosphere and space flight. After its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain hypersonic velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6 (four to six times the speed of sound) and to operate at altitudes well above 30,500 meters (100,000 feet). The X-15 is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall.

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    North American X-15

    North American X-15 on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Museum in Washington, DC.

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    North American X-15 in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

    The North American X-15, a rocket-powered research aircraft, bridged the gap between manned flight in the atmosphere and space flight. After its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain hypersonic velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6 (four to six times the speed of sound) and to operate at altitudes well above 30,500 meters (100,000 feet). The X-15 is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall.

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    Neil Armstrong with X-15

    NASA research pilot Neil Armstrong following a mission in the first X-15 rocket plane.

    NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

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    North American X-15

    The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6. Highlighted in this image is the undercarriage and the flow direction sensor of the North American x-15.
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    Neil Armstrong with the North American X-15

    Among the 12 who piloted the X-15s were future Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong (shown here) and Space Shuttle astronaut Joe Engle. Eight pilots flew higher than 80 kilometers (50 miles) above the Earth and were thus awarded astronaut wings.

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    In Plane View: North American X-15

    A selection from In Plane View: Abstractions of Flight, a book and traveling exhibit by museum photographer Carolyn Russo, this photo shows grooves within the exhaust cone of the North American X-15. The pattern of light and dark streaks were etched into the exhaust cone by the extremely hot gas expelled through it.
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    X-15 being Launched from Beneath a B-52

    The rocket-powered North American X-15 was carried to an altitude of 12,000 meters (40,000 feet) under the wing of a Boeing B-52 bomber and then drop launched. 

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    Closeup of X-15 Exterior

    A special alloy known as Inconel X gave the X-15 its distinctive black color. Made mostly of nickel with chromium, iron, and niobium (columbium), Inconel X was highly resistant to heat while maintaining its strength.

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    North American X-15 in Flight

    After initial test flights in 1959, X-15s became the first aircraft to reach Mach 4, 5, and 6, and to operate well above 30,500 meters (100,000 feet).

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    X-15 Landing

    The X-15 landed on the dry lake bed of Edwards Air Force Base and slid to a stop using a nose wheel and two large extendable skids visible under the rear of the aircraft.

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    Nose of North American X-15

    The "Q-Ball" in the nose of the X-15  served as an inertial flight data system capable of functioning in a highly dynamic pressure environment.  The 199 flights of the X-15 program gathered valuable data for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs. The X-15 pioneered new heat-resistant materials, as well as flight control systems that could transition between air and space. 

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    Rocket Thrusters on X-15

    The X-15 required conventional aerodynamic control surfaces to operate within the atmosphere and special "thruster" reaction control rockets located in the nose and wings of the aircraft to enable the pilot to maintain control when flying on the fringes of space.

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The North American X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6 (four, five, and six times the speed of sound). Because of its high-speed capability, the X-15 had to be designed to withstand aerodynamic temperatures on the order of 1,200 degrees F.; as a result, the aircraft was fabricated using a special high-strength nickel alloy named Inconel X.

Air-launched from a modified Boeing B-52 Stratofortress aircraft, the X-15 required conventional aerodynamic control surfaces to operate within the atmosphere and special "thruster" reaction control rockets located in the nose and wings of the aircraft to enable the pilot to maintain control when flying on the fringes of space. Indeed, the X-15 design was so much like that of a space vehicle that during the formative days of Project Mercury, America’s first attempt to put a man in orbit, North American and National Air and Space Administration (NASA) engineers gave serious consideration to utilizing a growth version of the X-15 for the manned orbiting mission. This plan was dropped in favor of using a blunt-body reentry vehicle. Because of the potential dangers to the pilot should the X-15’s pressurized cockpit lose its atmosphere while the aircraft operated in a near-space environment, X-15 pilots wore specially developed full-pressure protection ‘spacesuits’ while flying the experimental plane.

Three X-15 research aircraft were built and flown, completing a total of 199 research flights. The National Air and Space Museum has the historic X-15 #1, Air Force serial 56-6670. The X15 #2 (56-6671) was rebuilt following a landing accident as the advanced X-15A-2, having increased propellant capacity and, hence, a higher potential performance. The X-15A-2 was the fastest X-15 flown, and it is now on exhibit at the Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The X-15 #3 (56-6672) featured an advanced cockpit display panel and a special adaptive control system. The aircraft made many noteworthy flights until it crashed during atmospheric reentry, following pilot disorientation and a control-system failure. The pilot, Capt. Michael Adams, was killed.

The X-15 flew faster and higher than any other airplane. A peak altitude of 354,200 feet (67± miles) was reached by the X-15, and the X-15A-2 attained a speed of Mach 6.72 (4,534 mph) while testing a new ablative thermal protection material and a proposed design for a hypersonic ramjet. Various proposals were set forth for modifying the aircraft to accomplish new and even more radical tasks. At one point, NASA scientists planned to test a hydrogen-fueled supersonic combustion ramjet engine mounted on the X-15s lower vertical fin. A mock-up of this proposed installation was flight-tested on the X-15A-2. Other ideas included modifying the X-15 with a slender delta wing and using the aircraft as a booster for small satellite launch vehicles. None of these ideas, however, came to fruition.

The X-15 spearheaded research in a variety of areas: hypersonic aerodynamics, winged reentry from space. life-support systems for spacecraft, aerodynamic heating and heat transfer research, and earth sciences experiments. A total of 700 technical documents were produced, equivalent to the output of a typical 4,000-man federal research center for more than two years.

Development of the X-15 began in 1954, in a joint research program sponsored by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (forerunner of NASA), the U.S. Air Force. the U.S. Navy, and private industry. North American was selected as prime contractor on the project following a competition in which Douglas. Republic. and Bell also participated. By the time of its first airborne test, flight research was too complex to rely on simple air-to-ground communications near a test field. The Air Force and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics developed a special 485-mile-long test corridor stretching from Wendover Air Force Base. Utah. to Edwards Air Force Base. California. It was planned that the X15 would be air-launched from a Boeing B-52 near Wendover. then fly down this corridor, the High Range. to Edwards. monitored by tracking stations at Ely and Beatty. Nevada. and at Edwards. The range lay along a series of flat dry lakes. where the X-15 could make an emergency landing. if necessary. Nothing this extensive had previously existed in flight research, and it foreshadowed the worldwide tracking network developed by American manned spacecraft ventures. The X-15 would complete its research mission and then. followed by special Lockheed F-104 chase aircraft. would land on the hard clay of Rogers (formerly Muroc) Dry Lake. Because the X-15 featured a cruciform tail surface arrangement. it was necessary for the designers to make the lower half of the ventral fin jettisonable prior to landing so that the conventional two-wheel, nose-landing gear and two tail-mounted landing skids could support the aircraft.