45 photographs, 1 glossary, index
978-1-4962-2984-7$29.95 Add to Cart
978-0-8032-2840-5$39.95 Add to Cart
With the Soviet Union’s launch of the first Sputnik satellite in 1957, the Cold War soared to new heights as Americans feared losing the race into space. The X-15 Rocket Plane tells the enthralling yet little-known story of the hypersonic X-15, the winged rocket ship that met this challenge and opened the way into human-controlled spaceflight.
Drawing on interviews with those who were there, Michelle Evans captures the drama and excitement of, yes, rocket science: how to handle the heat generated at speeds up to Mach 7, how to make a rocket-propulsion system that could throttle, and how to safely reenter the atmosphere from space and make a precision landing.
This book puts a human face on the feats of science and engineering that went into the X-15 program, many of them critical to the development of the space shuttle. And, finally, it introduces us to the largely unsung pilots of the X-15. By the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing, thirty-one American astronauts had flown into space—eight of them astronaut-pilots of the X-15. The X-15 Rocket Plane restores these pioneers to their rightful place in the history of spaceflight.
"Engle and Armstrong devotees won’t be disappointed with the stories about their heroes in this tome."—American Space
"The importance of the X-15 on the early exploration of space and the subsequent development of the Shuttle program cannot be overstated."—Book Bit, WTBF-AM/FM
"Michelle Evans has written the definitive book on the X-15, the men who flew her, and the managers and support people who kept her flying."—Allen G. Taylor, National Space Society
List of Illustrations
1. The Whole Nine Yards
2. A Record High
3. Gaining Speed
4. Naval Engagement
5. Changing Course
6. Straight and Steady
7. Skipping Out
8. On a Roll
9. Inconel Meets Celluloid
10. Fastest Man Alive
11. Chasing Experiments
12. In the Line of Duty
13. Snow at Edwards