North American X-15

The North American X-15 is a hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft.

It was operated by the United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of the X-plane series of experimental aircraft.

Variants

Only three airframes were built.

X-15-1

56-6670, 81 free flights

X-15-2 (later X-15A-2)

56-6671

31 free flights as X-15-2, 22 free flights as X-15A-2; 53 in total

X-15-3

56-6672, 65 free flights, including the Flight 191 disaster

NB-52A

52-003 nicknamed The High and Mighty One (retired in October 1969)

NB-52B

52-008 nicknamed The Challenger, later Balls 8 (retired in November 2004)

Specifications

Crew

One

Length

50 ft 9 in (15.47 m)

Wingspan

22 ft 4 in (6.81 m)

Height

13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)

Wing area

200 sq ft (19 m2)

Empty weight

14,600 lb (6,622 kg)

Gross weight

34,000 lb (15,422 kg)

Powerplant

1 × Reaction Motors XLR99-RM-2 liquid-fuelled rocket engine, 70,400 lbf (313 kN) thrust

Performance

Maximum speed

4,520 mph (7,270 km/h, 3,930 kn)

Range

280 mi (450 km, 240 nmi)

Service ceiling

354,330 ft (108,000 m)

Rate of climb

60,000 ft/min (300 m/s)

Thrust/weight

2.07

 

 

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