After one hour of operation, the XLR99 required an overhaul. Operating times nearly twice that were recorded in tests, but declared largely unsafe. The basic X-15 aircraft carried fuel for about 83 seconds of full-powered flight, while the X-15A-2 carried fuel for just over 150 seconds. Therefore, each XLR99 was capable, in theory, of between 20 and 40 flights before an overhaul.
Like many other liquid-fuel rocket engines, the XLR99s used regenerative cooling, in that the thrust chamber and nozzle had tubing surrounding it, through which the propellant and oxidizer passed before being burned. This kept the engine cool, and preheated the fuel. The basic engine weighs 910 lb, or 413 kg.