Takeoff for an X-15 mission

Takeoff for an X-15 mission

The B-52 carrier aircraft rotates for takeoff on an X-15 mission.  An F-104 chase plane prepares to join up immediately.

This B-52 is actually a Boeing NB-52A, Air Force Serial Number 52-003, known as "Balls 3" at NASA Dryden and the AFFTC (Air Force Flight Test Center) at Edwards Air Force Base.  This was the third of three B-52A models manufactured at the start of the B-52 production run.

 The second carrier aircraft was an NB-52B, which entered NASA service for this purpose in 1959. This aircraft remains in service at the time this web page is edited, having carried the X-43A Hyper-X on March 27, 2004. With delivery to the Air Force in 1955 it has already been the oldest B-52 in active service for several decades, and it stands at the brink of logging half a century of active duty.

This image of a NASA photo was imported from the Apogee Books CDROM packaged with their book, X-15 - The NASA Mission Reports.

Send questions and comments on the SierraFoot X-15 pages to Paul Raveling.
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