List of X-15 flights

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Three X-15 planes performed 199 free flights.

This article lists the flights of the North American X-15, an experimental American spaceplane built by North American Aviation and operated by the United States Air Force and NASA. From 1959-1968, twelve pilots flew three X-15 planes, flying record high-altitude flights, high-speed flights, and sub-orbital spaceflights. Collectively, pilots and craft performed a total of 199 free flights after being carried aloft and then air launched from one of two modified B-52 mother ships. The pilots and craft also performed twelve scheduled captive carry test flights and 125 aborted flights (frequently due either to technical problems or poor weather) in which the X-15 did not uncouple from its B-52 mother ship, for a grand total of 336 flights.[1][2][a] The X-15 program's flights generated data and flight experience which supported future development of aircraft, spacecraft, and human spaceflight.

Five principal aircraft were used during the X-15 program: three X-15 planes and two modified "nonstandard" NB-52 bomber carriers:

  • X-15-1 56-6670,
  • X-15-2 (later modified to become the X-15A-2) – 56-6671,
  • X-15-3 56-6672,
  • NB-52A 52-003 nicknamed The High and Mighty One,
  • NB-52B 52-008 nicknamed The Challenger, later Balls 8.

Additionally, F-100, F-104 and F5D chase aircraft and C-130 and C-47 transports supported the program.[3]

Pilots[edit]

Twelve pilots flew the X-15 over the course of its career. Scott Crossfield and William Dana flew the X-15 on its first and last free flights, respectively. Joseph Walker set the program's top two altitude records on its 90th and 91st free flights (347,800 and 354,200 feet, respectively), becoming the only pilot to fly past the Kármán line, the 100 kilometer, internationally recognized boundary of outer space, during the program. William Knight set the program's Mach (6.70) and speed (4,520 mph) records on its 188th free flight. Neil Armstrong was the first pilot to fly the program's third plane, the X-15-3. Following his participation in the program, Joe Engle commanded a future spaceplane, the Space Shuttle, on two missions. Robert Rushworth flew 34 free flights, the most in the program. Forrest Petersen flew five, the fewest. Robert White was the first person to fly the X-15 above 100,000 feet. Milton Thompson piloted a series of typical flights during the middle of the program. John McKay was injured in (and recovered from, returning to active flight status) a landing accident which damaged the X-15-2, leading to its refurbishment as the modified X-15A-2. Michael Adams was killed in the program's 191st free flight. Five pilots were Air Force personnel, five were NASA personnel, one (Crossfield) was employed by manufacturer North American, and one (Petersen) was a Navy pilot.

Over thirteen flights, eight pilots flew above 264,000 feet or 50 miles, thereby qualifying as astronauts according to the United States definition of the space border. All five Air Force pilots flew above 50 miles and were awarded military astronaut wings contemporaneously with their achievements, including Adams, who received the distinction posthumously following the flight 191 disaster.[4] However the other three were NASA employees, and did not receive a comparable decoration at the time. In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration conferred its first-ever commercial astronaut wings on Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie, pilots of the commercial SpaceShipOne, another spaceplane with a flight profile comparable to the X-15's. Following this in 2005, NASA retroactively awarded its civilian astronaut wings to Dana (then living), and to McKay and Walker (posthumously).[5][6] Eleven flights above 50 miles were made in the X-15-3, and two were made in the X-15-1.

Every X-15 pilot also flew as a program chase pilot at least once, supporting missions in which they were not flying as lead pilots. Other chase pilots included future astronauts Michael Collins, Fred Haise and Jim McDivitt.[7]

The two NB-52 mother ships were most frequently piloted by Fitz Fulton.[8] On one occasion Chuck Yeager, former pilot of the X-15's predecessor X-plane the X-1, the first crewed craft to break the sound barrier, assisted as NB-52 co-pilot for an aborted flight.[9]

X-15 pilots as of December 1965, left to right: Joe Engle, Bob Rushworth, John McKay, Pete Knight, Milt Thompson, and Bill Dana.
The twelve X-15 pilots and their flights[b]
X-15 pilots Pilot flights by individual plane Flight totals by pilot
X-15-1 X-15-2 X-15-3
Pilot Agency FF CAF FF CAF FF CAF PTFF PTCAF PGTF
USAF astronaut Mike Adams.jpg Michael
Adams
USAF 4 8 3 2 7 10 17
Pilot Neil Armstrong and X-15 -1 - GPN-2000-000121.jpg Neil
Armstrong
NASA 3 4 4 7 4 11
Scott Crossfield (7552411090).jpg Scott
Crossfield
NAA 2 5 12 11 14 16 30
William H. Dana- First NASA Employee (7584812322).jpg William
Dana
NASA 6 7 10 6 16 13 29
STS-2 Engle interview.jpg Joe
Engle
USAF 7 3 9 3 16 6 22
Pete Knight by X15 19671003.jpg William
Knight
USAF 6 2 8 8 2 16 10 26
John B. McKay X-15.jpg John
McKay
NASA 12 10 11 8 6 2 29 20 49
ForrestSilasPetersonUSN.jpg Forrest
Petersen
USN 4 2 1 5 2 7
Robert A. Rushworth.jpg Robert
Rushworth
USAF 13 5 12 8 9 4 34 17 51
Milton O. Thompson.jpg Milton
Thompson
NASA 5 7 9 2 14 9 23
Joseph Albert Walker.jpg Joseph
Walker
NASA 13 7 3 2 9 5 25 14 39
Robert M. White.jpg Robert
White
USAF 6 5 6 7 4 4 16 16 32
Flight totals by plane 81 61 53 44 65 32 199 137 336

Flight numbering[edit]

Two conventions have been used to number the X-15's flights. In one, the numbers 1 through 199 were used to chronologically denote the free flights made by any of the three planes. For example, flight 1 (8 June 1959) was made by the X-15-1, flight 34 (7 March 1961) was made by the X-15-2, and flight 49 (5 April 1962) was made by the X-15-3. This convention ignores captive and aborted flights.

The other convention was an official three-part flight designation number, described in a 1960 letter by NASA flight research director Paul Bikle,[c] and split into three columns below. The first part, a number—1, 2 or 3—would denote the involved X-15 plane. The second part—a number, or "A", or "C"—would denote that individual X-15's chronological free flights; aborted flights were coded as "A", and scheduled captive carry test flights were coded as "C". The third part, a number, would denote the total number of times to-date that the individual X-15 had been taken aloft by a carrier, whether resulting in a free flight or not. For example, the X-15-1 was first taken aloft on scheduled captive test flight 1-C-1, next performed three aborted missions (1-A-2, 1-A-3, and 1-A-4), and then performed its first successful free flight on its fifth time taken aloft (1-1-5).[d]

On 9 November 1962, flight 74 (2-31-52), the X-15-2 suffered a landing accident which damaged the craft and also injured its pilot, John McKay, who suffered crushed vertebrae and later returned to active flight status.[11] This presented North American with an opportunity not only to repair the plane, but to modify it—an idea which the Air Force and NASA were uninterested in while all three planes were in operational service, but agreed to once repairs were made necessary.[12] The result was a new, distinct airframe known as the X-15A-2 which returned to flight in June 1964, first on a scheduled captive check-out flight (15 June, 2-C-53) and an abort (23 June, 2-A-54) before finally making its return free flight on 25 June (flight 109, 2-32-55), all piloted by Robert Rushworth. The flight numbering conventions made no distinction between the original craft and its modified iteration; it continued to be designated "2".

Neither convention accounted for which of the two NB-52 carriers took an X-15 aloft, given in a separate column below. On free flights, the NB-52A carried the X-15 aloft 93 times, while the NB-52B carried it aloft 106 times.

List of flights[edit]

Flights of the North American X-15
3 Pt. FID
GTF FF Pl FF(I) TF(I) Carr Date Pilot MM MV MA Notes[e]
1 1 C 1 10 March 1959 Crossfield The X-15-1's first time aloft. Crossfield's first time aloft. First time aloft of program.
2 1 A 2 1 April 1959 Crossfield
3 1 A 3 10 April 1959 Crossfield
4 1 A 4 21 May 1959 Crossfield
5 1 1 1 5 3 8 June 1959 Crossfield 0.79 522 37,550 The X-15-1's first free flight. Crossfield's first free flight. Glide flight, only one scheduled during program.
6 2 C 1 24 June 1959 Crossfield The X-15-2's first time aloft.
7 2 A 2 4 September 1959 Crossfield
8 2 2 1 3 3 17 September 1959 Crossfield 2.11 1,393 52,341 The X-15-2's first free flight. First powered flight of program.
9 2 A 4 10 October 1959 Crossfield
10 2 A 5 14 October 1959 Crossfield
11 3 2 2 6 3 17 October 1959 Crossfield 2.15 1,419 61,781
12 2 A 7 22 October 1959 Crossfield
13 2 A 8 31 October 1959 Crossfield
14 4 2 3 9 3 5 November 1959 Crossfield 1.00 660 45,462
15 1 A 6 16 December 1959 Crossfield
16 5 1 2 7 8 23 January 1960 Crossfield 2.53 1,669 66,844
17 2 A 10 4 February 1960 Crossfield
18 6 2 4 11 8 11 February 1960 Crossfield 2.22 1,466 88,116
19 7 2 5 12 8 17 February 1960 Crossfield 1.57 1,036 52,640
20 8 2 6 13 8 17 March 1960 Crossfield 2.15 1,419 52,640
21 2 A 14 18 March 1960 Crossfield
22 9 1 3 8 8 25 March 1960 Walker 2.00 1,320 48,630 Walker's first free flight.
23 10 2 7 15 8 29 March 1960 Crossfield 1.96 1,293 49,982
24 11 2 8 16 8 31 March 1960 Crossfield 2.03 1,340 51,356
25 12 1 4 9 3 13 April 1960 White 1.90 1,254 48,000 White's first free flight.
26 13 1 5 10 3 19 April 1960 Walker 2.56 1,689 59,496
27 2 A 17 5 May 1960 Crossfield
28 14 1 6 11 3 6 May 1960 White 2.20 1,452 60,938
29 15 1 7 12 3 12 May 1960 Walker 3.19 2,111 77,882
30 16 1 8 13 3 19 May 1960 White 2.31 1,590 108,997
31 17 2 9 18 8 26 May 1960 Crossfield 2.20 1,452 51,282
32 1 A 14 27 May 1960 Walker
33 1 A 15 3 June 1960 Walker
34 1 A 16 8 June 1960 Walker
35 18 1 9 17 3 4 August 1960 Walker 3.31 2,196 78,112
36 1 A 18 11 August 1960 White
37 19 1 10 19 3 12 August 1960 White 2.52 1,772 136,500
38 1 A 20 18 August 1960 Walker
39 20 1 11 21 3 19 August 1960 Walker 3.13 1,986 75,982
40 1 A 22 2 September 1960 White
41 21 1 12 23 8 10 September 1960 White 3.23 2,182 79,864
42 1 A 24 20 September 1960 Petersen Petersen's first time aloft.
43 22 1 13 25 8 23 September 1960 Petersen 1.68 1,108 53,043 Petersen's first free flight.
44 1 A 26 11 October 1960 Petersen
45 2 A 19 13 October 1960 Crossfield
46 23 1 14 27 8 20 October 1960 Petersen 1.94 1,280 53,800
47 24 1 15 28 8 28 October 1960 McKay 2.02 1,333 50,700 McKay's first free flight.
48 2 A 20 4 November 1960 Crossfield
49 25 1 16 29 8 4 November 1960 Rushworth 1.95 1,287 48,900 Rushworth's first free flight.
50 26 2 10 21 3 15 November 1960 Crossfield 2.97 1,960 81,200
51 27 1 17 30 3 17 November 1960 Rushworth 1.90 1,254 54,750
52 28 2 11 22 3 22 November 1960 Crossfield 2.51 1,656 61,900
53 29 1 18 31 8 30 November 1960 Armstrong 1.75 1,155 48,840 Armstrong's first free flight.
54 30 2 12 23 3 6 December 1960 Crossfield 2.85 1,881 53,374 Crossfield's last free flight.
55 31 1 19 32 8 9 December 1960 Armstrong 1.80 1,188 50,095
56 1 A 33 15 December 1960 McKay
57 1 A 34 11 January 1961 McKay
58 32 1 20 35 8 1 February 1961 McKay 1.88 1,211 49,780
59 33 1 21 36 8 7 February 1961 White 3.50 2,275 78,150
60 2 A 24 21 February 1961 White
61 2 A 25 24 February 1961 White
62 34 2 13 26 8 7 March 1961 White 4.43 2,905 77,450
63 2 A 27 21 March 1961 Walker
64 35 2 14 28 8 30 March 1961 Walker 3.95 2,760 169,600
65 36 2 15 29 3 21 April 1961 White 4.62 3,074 105,000
66 2 A 30 19 May 1961 Walker
67 37 2 16 31 3 25 May 1961 Walker 4.95 3,307 107,500
68 2 A 32 20 June 1961 White
69 38 2 17 33 3 23 June 1961 White 5.27 3,603 107,700
70 39 1 22 37 3 10 August 1961 Petersen 4.11 2,735 78,200
71 40 2 18 34 8 12 September 1961 Walker 5.21 3,618 114,300
72 41 2 19 35 8 28 September 1961 Petersen 5.30 3,600 101,800
73 1 A 38 29 September 1961 Rushworth
74 42 1 23 39 3 4 October 1961 Rushworth 4.30 2,830 78,000
75 43 2 20 36 3 11 October 1961 White 5.21 3,647 217,000
76 44 1 24 40 3 17 October 1961 Walker 5.74 3,900 108,600
77 1 A 41 27 October 1961 White
78 1 A 42 2 November 1961 White
79 1 A 43 3 November 1961 White
80 45 2 21 37 8 9 November 1961 White 6.04 4,093 101,600
81 3 A 1 19 December 1961 Armstrong The X-15-3's first time aloft.
82 46 3 1 2 3 20 December 1961 Armstrong 3.76 2,502 81,000 The X-15-3's first free flight.
83 47 1 25 44 3 10 January 1962 Petersen 0.97 645 44,750 Petersen's last free flight.
84 48 3 2 3 3 17 January 1962 Armstrong 5.51 3,765 133,500
85 3 A 4 29 March 1962 Armstrong
86 3 A 5 30 March 1962 Armstrong
87 3 A 6 31 March 1962 Armstrong
88 49 3 3 7 3 5 April 1962 Armstrong 4.12 2,850 180,000
89 1 A 45 18 April 1962 Walker
90 50 1 26 46 3 19 April 1962 Walker 5.69 3,866 154,000
91 51 3 4 8 8 20 April 1962 Armstrong 5.31 3,789 207,500
92 2 A 38 25 April 1962 White
93 2 A 39 26 April 1962 White
94 1 A 47 27 April 1962 Walker
95 52 1 27 48 8 30 April 1962 Walker 4.94 3,489 246,700
96 53 2 22 40 8 8 May 1962 Rushworth 5.34 3,524 70,400
97 54 1 28 49 3 22 May 1962 Rushworth 5.03 3,450 100,400
98 2 A 41 25 May 1962 White
99 2 A 42 29 May 1962 White
100 55 2 23 43 8 1 June 1962 White 5.42 3,675 132,600
101 56 1 29 50 3 7 June 1962 Walker 5.39 3,672 103,600
102 57 3 5 9 8 12 June 1962 White 5.02 3,517 184,600
103 58 3 6 10 8 21 June 1962 White 5.08 3,641 246,700
104 59 1 30 51 3 27 June 1962 Walker 5.92 4,104 123,700
105 60 2 24 44 8 29 June 1962 McKay 4.95 3,280 83,200
106 3 A 11 10 July 1962 White
107 3 A 12 11 July 1962 White
108 3 A 13 16 July 1962 White
109 61 1 31 52 8 16 July 1962 Walker 5.37 3,674 107,200
110 62 3 7 14 3 17 July 1962 White 5.45 3,832 314,750 U.S. spaceflight.
111 63 2 25 45 8 19 July 1962 McKay 5.18 3,474 85,250
112 64 1 32 53 3 26 July 1962 Armstrong 5.74 3,989 98,900 Armstrong's last free flight.
113 3 A 15 1 August 1962 Walker
114 65 3 8 16 3 2 August 1962 Walker 5.07 3,438 144,500
115 66 2 26 46 8 8 August 1962 Rushworth 4.40 2,943 90,877
116 3 A 17 10 August 1962 Walker
117 67 3 9 18 3 14 August 1962 Walker 5.25 3,747 193,600
118 68 2 27 47 8 20 August 1962 Rushworth 5.24 3,534 88,900
119 69 2 28 48 8 29 August 1962 Rushworth 5.12 3,447 97,200
120 2 A 49 27 September 1962 McKay
121 70 2 29 50 8 28 September 1962 McKay 4.22 2,765 68,200
122 71 3 10 19 8 4 October 1962 Rushworth 5.17 3,493 112,200
123 72 2 30 51 3 9 October 1962 McKay 5.46 3,716 130,200
124 73 3 11 20 8 23 October 1962 Rushworth 5.47 3,764 134,500
125 74 2 31 52 8 9 November 1962 McKay 1.49 1,019 53,950 The X-15-2's last free flight. Landing accident damaged craft and injured pilot, leading to modification.
126 3 A 21 13 December 1962 White
127 75 3 12 22 8 14 December 1962 White 5.65 3,742 141,400 White's last free flight.
128 76 3 13 23 8 20 December 1962 Walker 5.73 3,793 160,400
129 77 3 14 24 8 17 January 1963 Walker 5.47 3,677 271,700 U.S. spaceflight.
130 78 1 33 54 8 11 April 1963 Rushworth 4.25 2,864 74,400
131 79 3 15 25 8 18 April 1963 Walker 5.51 3,770 92,500
132 80 1 34 55 8 25 April 1963 McKay 5.32 3,654 105,500
133 81 3 16 26 8 2 May 1963 Walker 4.73 3,488 209,400
134 3 A 27 10 May 1963 Rushworth
135 82 3 17 28 8 14 May 1963 Rushworth 5.20 3,600 95,600
136 83 1 35 56 3 15 May 1963 McKay 5.57 3,856 124,200
137 84 3 18 29 8 29 May 1963 Walker 5.52 3,858 92,000
138 85 3 19 30 8 18 June 1963 Rushworth 4.97 3,539 223,700
139 86 1 36 57 3 25 June 1963 Walker 5.51 3,911 111,800
140 87 3 20 31 8 27 June 1963 Rushworth 4.89 3,425 285,000 U.S. spaceflight.
141 1 A 58 3 July 1963 Walker
142 88 1 37 59 8 9 July 1963 Walker 5.07 3,631 226,400
143 1 A 60 17 July 1963 Rushworth
144 89 1 38 61 3 18 July 1963 Rushworth 5.63 3,925 104,800
145 90 3 21 32 8 19 July 1963 Walker 5.50 3,710 347,800 FAI spaceflight. Second highest altitude of program.
146 3 A 33 6 August 1963 Walker
147 3 A 34 13 August 1963 Walker
148 3 A 35 15 August 1963 Walker
149 91 3 22 36 3 22 August 1963 Walker 5.58 3,794 354,200 FAI spaceflight. Walker's last free flight. Highest altitude of program.
150 1 A 62 4 October 1963 Engle Engle's first time aloft.
151 92 1 39 63 8 7 October 1963 Engle 4.21 2,834 77,800 Engle's first free flight.
152 3 A 37 14 October 1963 Rushworth
153 3 A 38 25 October 1963 Rushworth
154 93 1 40 64 8 29 October 1963 Thompson 4.10 2,712 74,400 Thompson's first free flight.
155 94 3 23 39 8 7 November 1963 Rushworth 4.40 2,925 82,300
156 95 1 41 65 8 14 November 1963 Engle 4.75 3,286 90,800
157 3 A 40 19 November 1963 Thompson
158 96 3 24 41 8 27 November 1963 Thompson 4.94 3,310 89,800
159 1 A 66 3 December 1963 Rushworth
160 97 1 42 67 8 5 December 1963 Rushworth 6.06 4,018 101,000
161 1 A 68 18 December 1963 Rushworth
162 98 1 43 69 8 8 January 1964 Engle 5.32 3,616 139,900
163 99 3 25 42 8 16 January 1964 Thompson 4.92 3,242 71,000
164 100 1 44 70 8 28 January 1964 Rushworth 5.34 3,618 107,400
165 101 3 26 43 3 19 February 1964 Thompson 5.29 3,519 78,600
166 102 3 27 44 3 13 March 1964 McKay 5.11 3,392 76,000
167 1 A 71 17 March 1964 Rushworth
168 103 1 45 72 3 27 March 1964 Rushworth 5.63 3,827 101,500
169 3 A 45 31 March 1964 McKay
170 104 1 46 73 3 8 April 1964 Engle 5.01 3,468 175,000
171 105 1 47 74 3 29 April 1964 Rushworth 5.72 3,906 101,600
172 3 A 46 11 May 1964 McKay
173 106 3 28 47 3 12 May 1964 McKay 4.66 3,084 72,800
174 107 1 48 75 3 19 May 1964 Engle 5.02 3,494 195,800
175 108 3 29 48 3 21 May 1964 Thompson 2.90 1,865 64,200
176 1 A 76 11 June 1964 Thompson
177 2 C 53 15 June 1964 Rushworth The X-15A-2's first time aloft. Return to service of modified craft.
178 2 A 54 23 June 1964 Rushworth
179 109 2 32 55 3 25 June 1964 Rushworth 4.59 3,104 83,300 The X-15A-2's first free flight. Return flight of modified craft.
180 110 1 49 77 3 30 June 1964 McKay 4.96 3,334 99,600
181 3 A 49 2 July 1964 Engle
182 111 3 30 50 3 8 July 1964 Engle 5.05 3,520 170,400
183 3 A 51 28 July 1964 Engle
184 112 3 31 52 3 29 July 1964 Engle 5.38 3,623 78,000
185 113 3 32 53 3 12 August 1964 Thompson 5.24 3,535 81,200
186 114 2 33 56 3 14 August 1964 Rushworth 5.23 3,590 103,300
187 115 3 33 54 3 26 August 1964 McKay 5.65 3,863 91,000
188 116 3 34 55 3 3 September 1964 Thompson 5.35 3,615 78,600
189 3 A 56 23 September 1964 Engle
190 117 3 35 57 3 28 September 1964 Engle 5.59 3,888 97,000
191 118 2 34 57 8 29 September 1964 Rushworth 5.20 3,542 97,800
192 1 A 78 2 October 1964 McKay
193 119 1 50 79 8 15 October 1964 McKay 4.56 3,048 84,900
194 3 C 58 29 October 1964 Thompson
195 120 3 36 59 8 30 October 1964 Thompson 4.66 3,113 84,600
196 2 C 58 6 November 1964 McKay
197 2 C 59 16 November 1964 McKay
198 121 2 35 60 8 30 November 1964 McKay 4.66 3,089 87,200
199 1 A 80 4 December 1964 Engle
200 122 3 37 60 8 9 December 1964 Thompson 5.42 3,723 92,400
201 123 1 51 81 3 10 December 1964 Engle 5.35 3,675 113,200
202 124 3 38 61 3 22 December 1964 Rushworth 5.55 3,593 81,200
203 125 3 39 62 3 13 January 1965 Thompson 5.48 3,712 99,400
204 1 A 82 26 January 1965 McKay
205 126 3 40 63 8 2 February 1965 Engle 5.71 3,885 98,200
206 2 C 61 15 February 1965 Rushworth
207 2 C 62 15 February 1965 Rushworth
208 127 2 36 63 8 17 February 1965 Rushworth 5.27 3,511 95,100
209 1 A 83 19 February 1965 McKay
210 1 A 84 25 February 1965 McKay
211 128 1 52 85 8 26 February 1965 McKay 5.40 3,750 153,600
212 129 1 53 86 8 26 March 1965 Rushworth 5.17 3,580 101,900
213 130 3 41 64 8 23 April 1965 Engle 5.48 3,580 79,700
214 131 2 37 64 8 28 April 1965 McKay 4.80 3,273 92,600
215 1 A 87 11 May 1965 Thompson
216 2 A 65 13 May 1965 McKay
217 132 2 38 66 8 18 May 1965 McKay 5.17 3,541 102,100
218 133 1 54 88 8 25 May 1965 Thompson 4.87 3,418 179,800
219 134 3 42 65 8 28 May 1965 Engle 5.17 3,754 209,600
220 2 A 67 4 June 1965 McKay
221 2 A 68 8 June 1965 McKay
222 2 A 69 11 June 1965 McKay
223 135 3 43 66 3 16 June 1965 Engle 4.69 3,404 244,700
224 136 1 55 89 8 17 June 1965 Thompson 5.14 3,541 108,500
225 137 2 39 70 8 22 June 1965 McKay 5.64 3,938 155,900
226 138 3 44 67 8 29 June 1965 Engle 4.94 3,432 280,600 U.S. spaceflight.
227 2 A 71 2 July 1965 McKay
228 139 2 40 72 3 8 July 1965 McKay 5.19 3,659 212,600
229 3 A 68 13 July 1965 Rushworth
230 140 3 45 69 8 20 July 1965 Rushworth 5.40 3,760 105,400
231 1 A 90 23 July 1965 Thompson
232 1 A 91 27 July 1965 Thompson
233 1 A 92 28 July 1965 Thompson
234 141 2 41 73 8 3 August 1965 Rushworth 5.16 3,602 208,700
235 142 1 56 93 8 6 August 1965 Thompson 5.15 3,534 103,200
236 143 3 46 70 3 10 August 1965 Engle 5.20 3,550 271,000 U.S. spaceflight.
237 1 A 94 20 August 1965 Thompson
238 1 A 95 24 August 1965 Thompson
239 144 1 57 96 3 25 August 1965 Thompson 5.11 3,604 214,100 Thompson's last free flight.
240 145 3 47 71 8 26 August 1965 Rushworth 4.79 3,372 239,600
241 146 2 42 74 8 2 September 1965 McKay 5.16 3,570 239,800
242 147 1 58 97 8 9 September 1965 Rushworth 5.25 3,534 97,200
243 148 3 48 72 8 14 September 1965 McKay 5.03 3,519 239,000
244 149 1 59 98 3 22 September 1965 Rushworth 5.18 3,550 100,300
245 150 3 49 73 3 28 September 1965 McKay 5.33 3,732 295,600 U.S. spaceflight.
246 151 1 60 99 3 30 September 1965 Knight 4.06 2,718 76,600 Knight's first free flight.
247 1 A 100 8 October 1965 Engle
248 152 3 50 74 8 12 October 1965 Knight 4.62 3,108 94,400
249 153 1 61 101 3 14 October 1965 Engle 5.08 3,554 266,500 U.S. spaceflight. Engle's last free flight.
250 154 3 51 75 3 27 October 1965 McKay 5.06 3,519 236,900
251 1 A 102 2 November 1965 Dana Dana's first time aloft.
252 155 2 43 75 3 3 November 1965 Rushworth 2.31 1,500 70,600
253 156 1 62 103 8 4 November 1965 Dana 4.22 2,765 80,200 Dana's first free flight.
254 2 A 76 13 April 1966 Rushworth
255 2 A 77 20 April 1966 Rushworth
256 2 A 78 5 May 1966 Rushworth
257 157 1 63 104 3 6 May 1966 McKay 2.21 1,434 68,400
258 158 2 44 79 3 18 May 1966 Rushworth 5.43 3,689 99,000
259 1 A 105 2 June 1966 McKay
260 1 A 106 10 June 1966 McKay
261 3 A 76 20 June 1966 Dana
262 2 C 80 27 June 1966 Rushworth
263 159 2 45 81 8 1 July 1966 Rushworth 1.70 1,061 44,800 Rushworth's last free flight.
264 160 1 64 107 3 12 July 1966 Knight 5.34 3,652 130,000
265 3 A 77 13 July 1966 Dana
266 161 3 52 78 3 18 July 1966 Dana 4.71 3,217 96,100
267 2 A 82 20 July 1966 Knight
268 162 2 46 83 3 21 July 1966 Knight 5.12 3,568 192,300
269 163 1 65 108 8 28 July 1966 McKay 5.19 3,702 241,800
270 164 2 47 84 8 3 August 1966 Knight 5.03 3,440 249,000
271 165 3 53 79 8 4 August 1966 Dana 5.34 3,693 132,700
272 1 A 109 9 August 1966 McKay
273 1 A 110 10 August 1966 McKay
274 166 1 66 111 3 11 August 1966 McKay 5.21 3,590 251,000
275 167 2 48 85 3 12 August 1966 Knight 5.02 3,472 231,100
276 168 3 54 80 3 19 August 1966 Dana 5.20 3,607 178,000
277 169 1 67 112 3 25 August 1966 McKay 5.11 3,543 257,500
278 170 2 49 86 8 30 August 1966 Knight 5.21 3,543 102,200
279 171 1 68 113 8 8 September 1966 McKay 2.44 1,602 73,200 McKay's last free flight.
280 3 A 81 13 September 1966 Dana
281 172 3 55 82 3 14 September 1966 Dana 5.12 3,586 254,200
282 1 A 114 28 September 1966 Adams Adams' first time aloft.
283 1 A 115 4 October 1966 Adams
284 173 1 69 116 3 6 October 1966 Adams 3.00 1,977 75,400 Adams' first free flight.
285 2 A 87 7 October 1966 Knight
286 2 A 88 19 October 1966 Knight
287 174 3 56 83 3 1 November 1966 Dana 5.46 3,750 306,900 U.S. spaceflight.
288 3 A 84 18 November 1966 Dana
289 175 2 50 89 8 18 November 1966 Knight 6.33 4,250 98,900
290 3 A 85 23 November 1966 Adams
291 176 3 57 86 3 29 November 1966 Adams 4.65 3,120 92,100
292 2 C 90 22 December 1966 Knight
293 1 A 117 15 March 1967 Adams
294 1 A 118 21 March 1967 Adams
295 177 1 70 119 3 22 March 1967 Adams 5.59 3,822 133,100
296 1 A 120 20 April 1967 Adams
297 178 3 58 87 8 26 April 1967 Dana 1.80 1,163 53,400
298 179 1 71 121 3 28 April 1967 Adams 5.44 3,720 167,200
299 2 A 91 5 May 1967 Knight
300 180 2 51 92 8 8 May 1967 Knight 4.75 3,193 97,600
301 3 A 88 12 May 1967 Dana
302 181 3 59 89 3 17 May 1967 Dana 4.80 3,177 71,100
303 1 A 122 26 May 1967 Adams
304 1 A 123 1 June 1967 Adams
305 1 A 124 14 June 1967 Adams
306 182 1 72 125 3 15 June 1967 Adams 5.14 3,606 229,300
307 183 3 60 90 8 22 June 1967 Dana 5.34 3,611 82,200
308 184 1 73 126 8 29 June 1967 Knight 4.23 2,870 173,000
309 185 3 61 91 8 20 July 1967 Dana 5.44 3,693 84,300
310 2 C 93 7 August 1967 Knight
311 2 A 94 11 August 1967 Knight
312 2 A 95 16 August 1967 Knight
313 186 2 52 96 8 21 August 1967 Knight 4.94 3,368 91,000
314 187 3 62 92 3 25 August 1967 Adams 4.63 3,115 84,400
315 3 A 93 22 September 1967 Dana
316 188 2 53 97 8 3 October 1967 Knight 6.70 4,520 102,100 Highest Mach and speed records of program. The X-15A-2's last free flight. Craft retired after setting records.
317 189 3 63 94 3 4 October 1967 Dana 5.53 3,897 251,100
318 190 3 64 95 8 17 October 1967 Knight 5.53 3,856 280,500 U.S. spaceflight.
319 3 A 96 31 October 1967 Adams
320 191 3 65 97 8 15 November 1967 Adams 5.20 3,570 266,000 U.S. spaceflight. The X-15-3's last free flight. Adams' last free flight. Fatal disaster.
321 1 C 127 6 February 1968 Dana
322 1 A 128 7 February 1968 Dana
323 1 A 129 27 February 1968 Dana
324 192 1 74 130 8 1 March 1968 Dana 4.36 2,878 104,500
325 1 A 131 28 March 1968 Dana
326 1 A 132 3 April 1968 Dana
327 193 1 75 133 8 4 April 1968 Dana 5.27 3,610 187,500
328 194 1 76 134 8 26 April 1968 Knight 5.05 3,545 209,600
329 1 A 135 23 May 1968 Dana
330 195 1 77 136 8 12 June 1968 Dana 5.15 3,563 220,100
331 1 A 137 15 July 1968 Knight
332 196 1 78 138 3 16 July 1968 Knight 4.79 3,382 221,500
333 197 1 79 139 3 21 August 1968 Dana 5.01 3,443 267,500 U.S. spaceflight.
334 198 1 80 140 3 13 September 1968 Knight 5.37 3,723 254,100 Knight's last free flight.
335 199 1 81 141 3 24 October 1968 Dana 5.38 3,716 255,000 The X-15-1's last free flight. Dana's last free flight. Last free flight of program.
336 1 A 142 12 December 1968 Knight The X-15-1's last time aloft. Knight's last time aloft. Last time aloft of program.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ All data presented in this article's primary table are taken directly from Evans, including information about the captive and aborted flights. Evans does not provide carrier, Mach, velocity or altitude data for the captive and aborted flights, and these fields are therefore left blank. Jenkins (2000, Appendix 9) provides a subset of the data given by Evans, for the free flights only. In almost all cases, the two data sets match exactly. However, there are some minor discrepancies. For free flights 18, 73, 127, 128, 130, 131, 160, 190 and 191, Jenkins reports maximum velocities of 2,195, 3,716, 3,539, 3,702, 3,657, 3,260, 3,661, 3,869 and 3,617 miles per hour, respectively. Jenkins also reports maximum altitudes of 100,200 and 92,000 feet, and a maximum Mach of 4.17 for free flights 170, 176 and 184, respectively.
  2. ^ This summary table combines all captive and aborted flights into single entries, and makes no distinction between the X-15-2 and the X-15A-2.
  3. ^ See Jenkins[10] for this letter. Also note that the letter gives a partial listing of the first several program flights, including aborts and captive carries, which agree with Evans and this article's table.
  4. ^ Further, the grand totals of program flights are encoded in the designations of each X-15's final flight. The X-15A-2 was retired and never taken aloft again after setting the program's speed records on free flight 2-53-97 (or flight 188). Shortly thereafter, the X-15-3 was destroyed on its final free flight, 3-65-97 (or flight 191), killing pilot Michael Adams. The X-15-1 remained in service until 1968, performing final free flight 1-81-141 (or flight 199). However, the X-15-1 was taken aloft one last time on aborted flight 1-A-142, in one of several failed efforts to make a 200th and final free flight in the program. The sum of the final free flight numbers' second parts, 53, 65 and 81, return the 199 overall free flights of the program. The sum of the three final flights' third parts, 97, 97 and 142, return the grand total 336 flights of the program. Subtracting the former from the latter gives 137, the total aborted and captive flights.
  5. ^ This column sorts notable flights in a hierarchical ordering of attributes. First, the two flights above 100 km, denoted "FAI spaceflight", are listed (by altitude). Second, the eleven flights between 50 mi and 100 km, denoted "U.S. spaceflight" are listed (chronologically). Third, the flight setting the program's Mach and speed records is listed. Fourth, each plane's first and last times aloft or in flight are listed (sequentially, then chronologically). Fifth, each pilot's first and last times aloft or in flight are listed (alphabetically, then chronologically). Finally, general comments are made in some cases. If a flight has more than one attribute, it is sorted with its attribute of highest precedence, as in the above ordering.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Evans, Michelle (2013). "The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings Into Space-Flight Log" (PDF). Mach 25 Media.
  2. ^ Jenkins, Dennis R. (June 2000). "Hypersonics Before the Shuttle: a Concise History of the X-15 Research Airplane" (PDF). Monographs in Aerospace History (18). NASA. p. 118-121. Appendix 9, X-15 Program Flight Log.
  3. ^ Jenkins, Dennis R. (2010). X-15: Extending The Frontiers of Flight. NASA. ISBN 978-1-4700-2585-4.
  4. ^ Jenkins (2000), Appendix 8, p. 117.
  5. ^ Johnsen, Frederick A. (23 August 2005). "X-15 Pioneers Honored as Astronauts". NASA.
  6. ^ Pearlman, Robert Z. (23 August 2005). "Former NASA X-15 Pilots Awarded Astronaut Wings". space.com.
  7. ^ Evans, pp. 13-14.
  8. ^ Evans, p. 13.
  9. ^ Evans, p. 26. Aborted flight 2-A-38, 25 April 1962.
  10. ^ Jenkins (2000), Appendix 6, p. 115.
  11. ^ Evans, p. 30.
  12. ^ Jenkins (2000), pp. 57-59.

Further reading[edit]