On This Day in Space! July 17, 1962: X-15 Breaks Altitude Record

On July 17, 1962, the American test pilot Bob White broke the world record for the highest altitude flight.

He took off from Edwards Air Force Base in a rocket-powered X-15 aircraft and made it to an altitude of 314,750 feet. That's almost 60 miles!

The X-15 rocket plane flew 199 times between 1959 and 1968.

The X-15 rocket plane flew 199 times between 1959 and 1968.

(Image credit: NASA/U.S. Air Force)

At the time, the Air Force considered the edge of space to be 50 miles above the Earth. So White received astronaut wings for his record-breaking spaceflight.

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