Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Yesterday, I was visiting Throwaway Blog, where Dmarks posted about the top ten (in his opinion) spaceships, real of imagined, to honor the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. I felt that he left out the (IMHO) coolest rocket plane ever, the X-15.

Launched from under the wing of a b-52, This plane quickly accelerated to unimaginable speeds of up to Mach 6.7 (4,520 mph). It also had the ability to ascend to altitudes as high as 67 miles (50 miles officially qualifies as outer space). This unique, ahead of its time rocket plane was nearly twice as fast as the SR-71 Blackbird, and almost as cool looking. Niel Armstrong was one of the first pilots of this amazing craft.

When my son and I were in Washington, DC. I snapped a few pictures of the first one ever to fly, which is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

General characteristics
Crew: one
Length: 50 ft 9 in (15.45 m)
Wingspan: 22 ft 4 in (6.8 m)
Height: 13 ft 6 in (4.12 m)
Wing area: 200 ft² (18.6 m²)
Empty weight: 14,600 lb (6,620 kg)
Loaded weight: 34,000 lb (15,420 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 34,000 lb (15,420 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Thiokol XLR99-RM-2 liquid-fuel rocket engine, 70,400 lbf at 30 km (313 kN)
Maximum speed: Mach 6.70 (4,520 mph / 7,274 km/h)
Range: 280 mi (450 km)
Service ceiling: 67 mi (354,330 ft / 108 km)
Rate of climb: 60,000 ft/min (18,288 m/min)
Wing loading: 170 lb/ft² (829 kg/m²)
Thrust/weight: 2.07


Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

Visiting the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum was one of the highlights of my life a few years ago.

The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Maybe this weekend for a ride, Tim?
Watch the weather.

Email me at cugblog AT msn DOT com.