North American X-15 (experimental)

The X-15 experimental vehicle is the fastest aircraft that has flown in the History of Aviation. It was developed by North American and Reaction Motors within the USAF and NASA’s Experimental Aircraft Program to collect information about the high altitude flight and to be applied in spaceflight. This aircraft did not have the capacity to take off from runways on the ground, instead, they were launched from B-52 bombers modified as motherships and designed as NB-52A by the USAF and NB-52B by the NASA. There were two motherships, “The Challenger” from NASA and “The High and Mighty One” from the USAF. Three X-15s were built and they made a total of 199 flights from June 1959 to October 1968. The record speed flight was made by Major Peter Knight, commanding the X-15A2 on October 3, 1967. He reacheda speed of Mach 6.70, (7.297 km / h), at 106,700 meters altitude, a record that remains today after more than 50 years.

X-15 gallery and more info


Información adicional

Ficha Completa
Country of origin

United States


North American Aviation


Experimental aircraft

Entered service




Combat weight

15,400 kg

Dimensions (length x wingspan x height)

15.45 (A2; 16.18) x 6.80 x 4.12 meters

Wing area

18.60 m2

Power plant

1 x Reaction Motors XLR99 rocket motor, 313 kN (167,142 hp) at very high altitude


Reached Mach 6.70 (7.297 km/h)

Ceiling, (maximum)

reached 107,800 meters