Item:
ONSV5851

Original U.S. Fragment from North American X-15 Rocket Plane flown by Scott Crossfield with Signed Photo

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Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. This is a great piece of U.S. "Space Race" history! The North American X-15 was a hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of the X-plane series of experimental aircraft. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. The X-15's official world record for the highest speed ever recorded by a crewed, powered aircraft, set in October 1967 when William J. Knight flew at Mach 6.70 at 102,100 feet (31,120 m), a speed of 4,520 miles per hour (7,274 km/h; 2,021 m/s), and has remained unbroken as of 2020.

During the X-15 program, 12 pilots flew a combined 199 flights. Of these, 8 pilots flew a combined 13 flights which met the Air Force spaceflight criterion by exceeding the altitude of 50 miles (80 km), thus qualifying these pilots as being astronauts. The Air Force pilots qualified for military astronaut wings immediately, while the civilian pilots were eventually awarded NASA astronaut wings in 2005, 35 years after the last X-15 flight.

The first flight for the X-15 took place on 8 June 1959, and it was piloted during that flight by Naval Officer, Test Pilot, and Astronaut-Select Albert Scott Crossfield, who went by Scott. He was the chief engineering test pilot for North American Aviation, and had a lot of input on the design.

This set, dedicated to the X-15, has a very nice Autographed photo of Scott Crossfield, in his flight suit standing next to the X-15. Underneath the photo is an aluminum fragment from the X-15, which measures approximately 4" x 2 1/2". The caption below it is as follows:

DESIGNED DURING THE MID 1950'S, NORTH AMERICAN'S
X-15 WOULD ULTIMATELY BECOME, AT 4.520 MILES PER
HOUR, THE FASTEST AIRPLANE IN THE WORLD. OVER A
NINE YEAR CAREER, THE X-15 NOT ONLY SET RECORDS
FOR A WINGED AIRCRAFT, BUT ALSO SUPPLIED A 
WEALTH OF RESEARCH DATA MAKING IT THE MOST
SUCCESSFUL MANNED EXPERIMENTAL FLIGHT TEST
VEHICLE IN UNITED STATES HISTORY. RETIRED IN 1968,
THE X-15 GAINED ASTRONAUT WINGS FOR ITS PILOTS
AND PROVED THAT MAN COULD FLY ABOVE THE ATMOS-
PHERE AND RETURN SAFELY TO EARTH.

SHOWN HERE IS AN ORIGINAL FRAGMENT OF NORTH
AMERICAN'S ROCKET PLANE AS WELL AS THE AUTO-
GRAPH OF SCOTT CROSSFIELD, THE FIRST MAN TO FLY
THE X-15.

All of this is very nicely mounted in a glazed metal frame. It measures about 28 1/4" x 16 1/4" x 1 3/8", and is in wonderful display condition. Included with the set is a nice North American Aviation brochure with pictures and mention of the X-15 "MANNED RESEARCH VESSEL".

Also included is a newspaper tribute to Test Pilot Scott Crossfield following his death in an airplane crash at age 84. His single engine airplane ran into bad weather in Northern Georgia, crashing into the mountains. It notes his many achievements as a Test Pilot that truly had "The Right Stuff."

A great piece of space race and test pilot memorabilia!

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