The X-15 Rocket Plane

In the Line of Duty

The research aircraft X-15 rocket plane helped open the way into human-controlled spaceflight. It still holds the world speed record of 4520 mph. It was the precursor to the Space Shuttle by being the first piloted and winged vehicle to exit Earth’s atmosphere and be guided through a controlled reentry to a safe landing on the desert. Michelle Evans' talk centers on the history of the aircraft, the twelve pilots who flew her, including Neil Armstrong and Scott Crossfield, and Michael Adams who became the first astronaut lost in the line of duty while piloting the X-15 in 1967. Michelle Evans is author of the book “The X-15 Rocket Plane - Flying the First Wings Into Space (University of Nebraska Press, 2013).