Today in aviation history – September 17, 1959

aviation history

X-15

The North American X-15 rocket plane makes its 1st powered flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California.  Carried aloft by a B-52, a single rocket engine generated 57,000 pounds of thrust.

In 1967 on it’s 188th flight, the X-15 piloted by Pete Knight reached a top speed of 4,159 mph, a record that still stands to this day.  Astronaut Neil Armstrong flew the X-15 in 1962.