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Photos: X-15 Rocket Plane Reaches Space in Test Flights

Emergency Landing at Mud Lake

NASA/U.S. Air Force

On Nov. 9 1962, an engine failure forced Jack McKay, a NASA research pilot, to make an emergency landing at Mud Lake, Nevada, in the second X-15. Its landing gear collapsed and the X-15 flipped over on its back. McKay was promptly rescued by an Air Force medical team standing by near the launch site, and eventually recovered to fly the X-15 again.

Second X-15 Rocket Plane

NASA/U.S. Air Force

The second X-15 rocket plane is shown with two external fuel tanks which were added during its conversion to the X-15A-2 configuration in the mid-1960's.

X-15 Cockpit

NASA/U.S. Air Force

This photo shows the X-15 cockpit. The X-15 was unique for many reasons, including the fact that it had two types of controls for the pilot.

X-15 Lakebed Landing

NASA

The North American X-15 settles to the lakebed after a research flight from what is now the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

North American X-15 Illustration

NASA/U.S. Air Force

Three view illustration of the North American X-15.

Neil Armstrong in X-15 Cockpit

NASA/U.S. Air Force

NASA pilot Neil Armstrong is seen here in the cockpit of the X-15 ship #1 after a research flight.

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