X-15 Science and Engineering Achievements

X-15 achievements recap
Space shuttle orbiter Discovery lands at Edwards AFB
X-15 flight envelope, charted from
-3 G to +8 G at speeds up to Mach 3.5
A well-known benefactor of X-15 technology,
Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery returns from orbit
to NASA Dryden at Edwards AFB

The X-15 research program was the last major investigation of hypersonic and high altitude flight by a manned aircraft. Four decades later, engineers and researchers still use data gathered by the X-15 as a state-of-the-art reference for hypersonic aerodynamics.

The X-15 pioneered research leading directly to manned space flight. It explored

Over time this web site will add separate pages with more detailed descriptions of these areas, with links to those pages to be added in the list above. A few additional links will lead to more detailed examples of particular technical challenges and innovations. The first such examples probably will be...

Photo credits and web cross-references for this page:
The X-15 flight envelope diagram is from the North American Aviation X-15 Flight Manual. This is one of a series defining load limits for several airframe configurations. This one is for gear up, flaps up, and rocket fuel exhausted -- a configuration that applies to atmospheric reentry at the end of an altitude mission.

The Space Shuttle landing is NASA photo EC00-0311-3. This was the end of mission STS-92, on October 24, 2000.
Send questions and comments on the SierraFoot X-15 web pages to Paul Raveling.
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