June 25th 1964, first flight of the X-15A-2

June 25, 1964 = North American X-15A-2 (p: Maj Robert Rushworth).

X-15A-2 56-6671 First Flight 2-32-55 June 25, 1964 Rushworth

Today marks the 45th Anniversary of the flight of the X-15A-2 flown by Robert Rushworth.  The X-15 is a wickedly beautiful, ultra fast piece of aircraft developed by the North American Aviation.  Categorized as one of the Blackbirds (Sr-71, U-2), it was the fastest of all the manned experimental  aircraft.  Pretty much, it was a seat strapped to a giant rocket engine, and it made it to the incredible speed of 4,534 MPH and reached an altitude of 354,200 feet.  One incredible machine, this is one of my favorites and inspired the look of many Star trek vessels throughout the course of the films and shows!  Tony Landis, A buddy of mine who works out at Edwards AFB, got together with his friend Dennis Jenkins and wrote an incredible book called “Hypersonic, The Story of the North American X-15”  and a followup book called “The X-15 Scrapbook” filled with the extra photos that they couldn’t fit in the first book.  This is one awesome read full of facts and some incredible and rare images.  Tony is also a big Star Trek fan and has a shuttle named after him in the bay of buddies about one of the Enterprises.  Here are some pictures of the ship and some links to read more about her incredible history, also one to Amazon in regards to Tony & Dennis’s awesome book.   These two also did a book on the Valkyrie, but I am saving that intro for the XB-70 day. Enjoy.



Robert Rushmore hopping into the Black beauty!

Robert Rushworth hopping into the Black beauty!

the awesome X-15A-2 on the lake bed

the awesome X-15A-2 on the lake bed


seen with it's ablative coat it's dropped from the mother-ship (the B-52)

seen with it's ablative coat, it's dropped from the mother-ship (the B-52)


another view of the drop

another view of the drop

the Xb-70 and the X-15A-2 hang out together at the local hanger for a few drinks

the Xb-70 and the X-15A-2 hang out together at the local hanger for a few drinks


the X-15 being treated with the ablative coating

the X-15 being treated with the ablative coating


the must have book HYPERSONIC!!!

the must have book HYPERSONIC!!!


from the Wright Paterson museum

from the Wright Patterson Museum


nice view of the nose

nice view of the nose

she's a wink-n-atcha!

she's a wink-n-atcha!


 few of the bizzar left window

view of the bizarre left window

21 Responses to “June 25th 1964, first flight of the X-15A-2”

  1. 1 Freak
    June 25, 2009 at 8:25 am

    That is such a sweet looking jet.
    Is that the rocket fuel pods hanging on both side of the plane?

    It must of be one hell of a ride to fly it. 😀

  2. 2 DeanneM
    June 25, 2009 at 8:42 am

    That picture of Mr. Rushmore in the cockpit just makes me want to be the one in there!! That looks like the ultimate ride! Those are some impressive speed and altitude stats.

    I love the lines of the XB-70 – thanks for the bonus shot of one of my favorite aircraft. 🙂 I guess it knew how to hang with the happenin’ crowd, huh? Very nice shot of the two of them!

    From the looks of the photos and info in the link, this was a long and successful program. I didn’t realize just how many flights were made!

    • 3 DeanneM
      June 25, 2009 at 8:44 am

      I should say, Major Rushworth. No Mr. here!

      • 4 johneaves
        June 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm

        Hey i caiught you in a typo-0 it’s rushworth not Rushmore, HAAA! go in and take your name out of the administrator katigory young lady untilll this spelling issue is correkted!

      • 5 DeanneM
        June 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm

        Hmmmm, it seems I was just copying what you, the one who knows all, put under his picture above…I will correct the pic, my post and your silly attempts at mispelled humor in this post. 😆

        …on second thought, I’ll leave your post for my amusement.

    • 6 DeanneM
      June 25, 2009 at 8:59 am

      I comment too early and miss stuff! I’ve really gotta get to that museum.

  3. 9 Don
    June 25, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I don’t know – that CGI looks a little shaky – not “real” enough! 😉

  4. 10 barriesuddery
    June 25, 2009 at 10:54 am

    There’s a documentary series running on BBC 2 celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the first episode showed how NASA developed its space suits by using the experience and knowledge of the USAF high altitude flyers. In fact, the space suits worn on the very first shuttle mission were borrowed from these guys!

    Men like Robert Rushmore really DID have “The Right Stuff”.

    • June 25, 2009 at 12:52 pm

      I sat and watched that with my dad and really enjoyed it. He was telling me how the family all gathered round the tv to watch the moon landings, just as you imagine everyone must have (unless you’re old enough to remember it first hand).

    • 12 Spaceflightengineer
      July 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

      “In fact” the pressure suits for the “very first shuttle mission” were utilized for a rather unrelated purpose- the 1st 4 missions employed activated and very slightly modified SR-71 ejection seats. The suits worn WERE SR suits (The current suits, worn starting with STS-26R, the 1st post-Challenger flight are stylized somewhat after those suits but are not SR suits as oft reported). For high altitude, high speed aircraft pressure suit adaptations utilized on actual spaceflight- the Mercury suits came directly from those employed on the record seeking F-4 Phantom II missions. BP

  5. 13 johneaves
    June 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    what a cool note!!! thanks Barrie and I love those documentaries,,, Neil Armstrong was one of the pilots that flew this one and he was a part of designing that rolling ball on the nose that helped to diffuse the heat build up from air friction.

  6. 14 cp40guy
    June 25, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    My dad was at Edwards when the first X-15 showed up and saw a few of the flights. He has old slides and some (very degraded) color pictures as well of some of the stuff that was around the base back in the late 50’s early 60’s. Really an amazing vehicle – the most recognizable X plane.

  7. 15 Matt Wright
    June 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    So what’s the deal with the left window?

    • 16 George Seletas
      June 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm

      They had an issue with one of the windows shattering upon deceleration.(though it stayed intact) The solution was to redesign the structure and thickness of both viewports, but the “eyelid” was installed in case the incident repeated itself. It was kept closed until a safe altitude was reached and the opened to aid with landing.

      That’s how I remember it anyhoo….. 🙂

  8. 18 George Seletas
    June 25, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I though I was the only one who remembered what today was—that’s just awesome John! I didn’t know Tony was a friend of yours—I sure could have used his input when I built my X-15 for Wonderfest! 🙂

    Now there’s a fella I’d like to meet someday… 😉

  9. June 26, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Chills up and down my spine when I first saw the X-15 and if I’m not mistaken, it’s in the same hanger as the A-12 and YF-12A and of course, nesteled in between is the Air Speed Award, all holy grails of the aviation world. I have always been fascinated with the those plans including the Valkyrie. That plane was six engines of sexiness! 🙂

    If I am not mistaken, this aircraft had achieved speeds within our atmosphere that have yet to be broken…mach 6 is it?

  10. June 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up on the books. I just ordered both of them. I have great memories of that era as a kid and all those aircraft that fired my imagination. I was really into jets and rockets and used to write letters to all the aerospace companies asking for pictures of their planes. Somewhere, I still have an 8×10 of that second pic that some publicity dept staffer at North American sent me. There was nothing better as a kid than getting a fat envelope in the mail full of pictures and posters of jets and rockets.

  11. July 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I just got the 2 X-15 books and boy are they juicy! Really great stuff there. I wish all planes of the era were so carefully and humorously documented. Thanks again for the tip.

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June 2009

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