NASA Image of the Day: X-15 Rocket Plane

 

Believe it or not, the X-15 rocket plane first took to the air 50 years ago today.

Image credit: NASA/North American Aviation

Image credit: NASA/North American Aviation

Back in the 1950s, Scott Crossfield (above) and Chuck Yeager would trade aerial speed records, with Yeager being the first to reach Mach 1 (Oct. 14, 1947) and Crossfield being the first to reach Mach 2 (Nov. 20, 1953). At that time Crossfield hit 1,300 mph in NACA’s (later NASA) Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket.

The speed duel between Crossfield and Yaeger was made famous in the book and movie “The Right Stuff”. In 2006, Crossfield died in a crash of his single-engine plane at age 84.  

Alan Speakman

One Response to NASA Image of the Day: X-15 Rocket Plane

  1. Larry Sheldon says:

    First reaction: My God, was that so long ago?

    Second reaction: My God, how far we have come since then.

    I believe I remember reading in a book my grandfather had (He taught high school physics) that argued that it was not possible to move an object at more that the speed of sound. I was too uninformed to realize that there were already things in the world traveling at more than the speed of sound–the tip of a whip, a thunderbolt, an unkind word.)

    I remember clearly people calling Roger Banister a fool because everybody knew a human being would never run a mile in less that four minutes. Does Alan Webb still hold the record at 3:53 for the high school mile?

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