Space History Photo: Joe Walker Beside an X-15 Airplane

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NASA pilot Joe Walker stands beside the X-15 airplane after a flight. (Image credit: NASA.)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, NASA test pilot Joe Walker stands beside an X-15 airplane, following 169,000-foot altitude flight on March 30, 1961. The X-15 flew 199 times from 1959 to 1968 and was an extremely successful aeronautics research program that laid the hypersonics basis for later spacecraft such as the Space Shuttle.

Each weekday, looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

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U.S. Space Agency

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: