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American X-Vehicles:  X-1 to X-50
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Centennial of Flight Edition

by Dennis R. Jenkins, Tony Landis, and Jay Miller
NASA History Office

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American X-Vehicles:  X-1 to X-50
.
Centennial of Flight Edition

by Dennis R. Jenkins, Tony Landis, and Jay Miller; NASA History Office


Although high-speed and high-altitude flight experiments have been in the X-series spotlight, many other flight regimes have been explored by X-vehicles.  The "X research vehicles" began with Chuck Yeager's flight in the original X-1 and continued through the record-setting flights of the X-15, and far beyond.  Few know of the little Bensen X-25, which never exceeded 85 mph.  Or the 10-engine X-6 nuclear propulsion system prototype. 

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How about the Mach 4.31 (2,881 mph) ramjet-propelled Lockheed X-7?  It flew to over 100,000 feet in the 1950s.  The Aerojet X-8 made 108 flights above White Sands Proving Ground and Holloman AFB, sometimes reaching 800,000 feet.  Built for NACA, USAF, and the US Navy, this Aerojet design spawned the Aerobee sounding rocket.

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The Bell X-9 Shrike was the first weapon (1949) to mate the potential of a liquid-fueled rocket engine with the destructive power of the atomic bomb.  Ryan's X-13 explored the idea of pure-jet powered VTOL fighter aircraft.  Bell's X-14 demonstrated vectored thrust in a VTOL aircraft.  Sir Stanley Hooker later used data from these tests when designing the Hawker P.1127 (Harrier prototype).

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Experimental fleet, Edwards AFB (1957)

Arranged as an "inventory," the text devotes at least a full page to each aircraft, one by one, beginning with the X-1.  Provides a nice photo of the plane, and detailed data about:

  • Sponsors
  • First and last flights
  • Total number of flights
  • Fastest flight
  • Highest flight
  • Historic notes and commentary
  • Other and previous designations
  • Current "on-display" locations

CONTENTS

Bell X-1 (First Generation)
Bell X-1 (Second Generation)
Bell X-1E
Bell X-2
Doughlas X-3
Northrop X-4
Bell X-5
Consolidated-Vultee X-6
Lockheed X-7
Aerojet General X-8
Bell X-9
North American X-10
Consolidated-Vultee X-11
Consolidated-Vultee X-12
Ryan X-13
Bell X-14
North American X-15
North American X-15A-2
Bell X-16
Lockheed X-17
Hiller X-18
Curtiss-Wright X-19
Boeing X-20
Northrop X-21A
Bell X-22
Martin Marietta X-23
Martin Marietta X-24A
Martin Marietta X-24B
Bensen X-25
Lockheed/ Schweizer X-26
Lockheed X-27 Lancer
Pereira / Osprey X-28
Grumman X-29
National Team X-30
Rockwell Internationa / MBB X-31
Boeing X-32
Lockheed Martin X-33
Orbital Sciences X-34
Lockheed Martin X-35
Boeing X-36
Boeing X-37
NASA X-38
AFRL X-39
Boeing X-40A
X-41
X-42
Microcraft X-43
Lockheed Martin X-44
Boeing X-45
Boeing X-46
Northrop Grumman X-47
Boeing X-48
X-49
Boeing X-50
Lifting Bodies 
Douglas D-558 Skyrocket

The book is full of historic information, fascinating stories, and descriptions of many very unusual flying machines.  Of special interest to test pilots, aeromodellers, aviation buffs, and aerospace historians.


Sample Photos
(greatly reduced in size and resolution)

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                          note by e-mail and we'll assist.

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Hard to find and now out-of-print, this new limited edition has been republished by the Rocket Science Institute.  It's printed directly from a NASA digital document file, with a high-resolution laser printer on high-quality, bright-white, acid-free paper and quality bound for years of reference use.  65 pages, 60 photos; large and easy-to-read 11" x 8-1/2" size.  $19.95

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Jet-Ex-Press
Nitrate-type Propellants Group

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