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Hypersonic: The Story of the North American X-15 (Specialty Press) [Paperback]

Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Oct 2012 Specialty Press
Nineteen years before Space Shuttle, the small, black, rocket-powered, bullet-shaped X-15 showed it was possible to fly into - and out of - space. There had never been anything like the X-15; it had a million-horsepower engine and could fly twice as fast as a rifle bullet. The X-15 set records that stood for years. Specialty Press's bestseller, Hypersonic, has been re-released in a new softbound format at a reduced price. This book is the most extensively researched history of the X-15 program yet produced. The book was written with the cooperation of surviving X-15 pilots as well as many other program principals and is based on six years of research in Air Force, NASA, and North American archives. It covers the tasks of converting and testing the B-52 carrier airplanes, building the first full-pressure suits to protect the pilot, building the first engineering mission simulators, acquiring the remote lakebed landing sites, and building the radar range. It also covers the flight program in detail, including the most authoritative flight log ever assembled; in many instances, information in this log was derived from the original flight data recordings. Also covered are each of the experiments that were flown aboard the X-15 late in its career when it became the workhorse of the space program, carrying such things as startrackers destined for the Apollo program and missile detection systems that would later be sent into orbit on satellites.

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Hypersonic: The Story of the North American X-15 (Specialty Press) + At the Edge of Space: The X-15 Flight Program
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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Specialty Press (15 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580071317
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580071314
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 22.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 617,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The term "rocket plane" now conjures images from vintage pulp sci-fi. But in a programme that began years before Gagarin and Shepard launched the space race, NASA's X-15 research vehicle ambitiously arched towards the fringes of space, expanding the speed-and-altitude envelope of manned flight like none before it. In the course of a 199 flights over a decade, the X-15 became the first manned aircraft to rocket past Mach 4, 5 and 6; soared some 67 miles above the Earth (earning a handful of its dozen pilots their Astronaut wings, though ironically not Neil Armstrong, later first to set foot on the Moon); and crucially gathered the cornerstone data that enabled the Space Shuttle's return from space a couple decades later. Authors/historians/archivists Dennis Jenkins and Tony Landis have produced nothing short of a landmark history of the X-15's pioneering effort, which, they argue, was the most productive flight-test programme ever)--the first truly comprehensive chronicle of every phase of its pre-history, development and often perilous journeys (USAF pilot Mike Adams was killed on one of the craft's final flights, while several others suffered injuries in mishaps). Fueled by an obvious passion for their subject, the authors skillfully boil a daunting body of history, technical data and personalities down into an eminently accessible chronicle of technical achievement and human bravery. In doing so they've drawn on a wealth of documentary materials and interviews from pilots, NASA and USAF sources and key personnel from North American Aviation, the X-15's manufacturer. Pilots Scott Crossfield and Bill Dana (the first and last to fly the spaceplane, respectively) have also contributed written introductions. --Jerry McCulley, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book on the X-15 4 July 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The X-15 was the ultimate research program during the 1950s and 1960s. The airplane was sleek and fast, and the pilots that flew it (including Neil Armstrong) all had the "right stuff."
This book covers the development of the airplane and its technology in amazing detail. It also covers the carrier airplane (a B-52), setting up the radar sites to track the X-15, and all of the lakebeds that were used for landing sites. It also provides some interesting insights into the personalities involved.
The authors obviously had cooperation from many of the participants in the program since th einformation would not be obtainable in any other way. This is at least partially confirmed by the fact that Scott Crossfield (the first pilot) and Bill Dana (the last pilot) wrote forewords for the book.
This book is recommended without reservation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypersonic: The Story of the North American X-15 30 July 2004
Format:Hardcover
I'll keep it short and sweet. I buy lots of aviation literature and ordinarily I like to see a book before buying it. Nevertheless, I ordered this book along with the X-15 Scrapbook (by the same authors) at a combined cost that I felt would be tolerable even if the books turned out to be rubbish. In actual fact my pessimism was totally unfounded as both books and particularly 'Hypersonic....' massively exceeded my expectation. The book is beautifully printed and bound, and the content is detailed, well-researched and logically presented; quite frankly I haven't put it down for the past 2 days. If you've a spare 20 buy this book. If you've a spare 30, buy both books, you won't regret it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great... 19 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really a great book for my little collection of stuff that amazed me as a child
Good pictures & text
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