X-15 mated to its mothership B52

X-15 mated to its mothership B52

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: X-15 mated to its mothership B52. The X-15 was a rocket powered research aircraft designed to investigate flight at hypersonic speeds. Three X-15s flew a total of 199 missions between 1959 and 1968. The X-15 was carried into the air by a converted B-52 bomber and released at high altitude. The pilot then ignited the X-15's rocket motor. It was the first plane to reach the edge of outer space (over 100 kilometres high) and, in 2014, still maintains the record for the fastest manned aircraft (7,274 kilometres per hour, or Mach 6.72). Photographed on 1st January 1959.

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