Dragon DRW51022 North American X-15 Spaceplane - Prototype No. 1 (1:144 Scale)
"...the most technically capable of the early X-15 pilots."
- Milt Thompson, Chief Engineer and Director of Research Projects at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, discussing Neil Armstrong, test pilot for the X-15
The North American X-15 rocket-powered aircraft/spaceplane was part of the X-series of experimental aircraft, initiated with the Bell X-1, that were made for the USAAF/ USAF, NACA/NASA, and the USN. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the early 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. As of 2011, it holds the official world record for the fastest speed ever reached by a manned rocket-powered aircraft.
During the X-15 program, 13 of the flights (by eight pilots) met the USAF spaceflight criteria by exceeding the altitude of 50 miles (80.5 km, 264,000 ft), thus qualifying the pilots for astronaut status. The USAF pilots qualified for USAF astronaut wings, while the civilian pilots were later awarded NASA astronaut wings.
Of all the X-15 missions, two flights (by the same pilot) qualified as space flights per the international (Fdration Aronautique Internationale) definition of a spaceflight by exceeding 100 kilometres (62.1 mi, 328,084 ft) in altitude.
Pictured here is a 1:144 scale replica of the first prototype of the North American X-15 Spaceplane. Now in stock!
Wingspan: 1-/3/4 inches
Length: 4-1/4 inches
Release Date: August 2011
Historical Account: "The ABCs of XYZ" - A whole series of X-series experimental aircraft were made for the US Air Force (USAF). The first was the Bell X-1, but another one that is equally famous is the North American X-15. The rocket-powered X-15 reached the very edge of outer space, and today it still holds the world record for the fastest speed attained by a manned rocket-powered aircraft. Its fastest recorded speed was Mach 6.72, equating to 7,274km/h. This hypersonic spaceplane was produced by North American Aviation and Reaction Motors, the latter manufacturing the XLR-99 rocket engine. A total of three X-15s were made, and 199 flight tests were conducted from 1959 to 1968. These flights contributed much to American knowledge about aircraft and spacecraft design. For its flight tests, the 15.45m-long X-15 was carried under the wing of a B-52 operated by NASA, and then released at an altitude of nearly 14km.