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47

I like the X-15, it was certainly an amazing airplane, but the truth is there were few benefits to the space program from the X-15. It was far from a critical or necessary step: The Mercury space suit was a direct derivative of the BF Goodrich Navy Mark IV, which had been in use for years. It wasn't developed for the X-15 The rockets used in the space ...


44

They used inertial altitude on the X-15 for high altitude measurements. This works just like an IRS (Inertial Reference System), which was used on airliners of that era: you can get the position (latitude and longitude) based on a manually entered (or GPS derived) start position by integrating rotations and accelerations over time. The principle also works ...


26

I'll complement GdD's answer from a slightly different perspective. In the history of aerospace engineering... Wait, there is a problem right there. Due to various historical reasons, there was no aerospace industry in the USSR, at least the way it is known in the West. The very word "aerospace" was almost never used before the 90s. Aeronautics and ...


11

my question is whether the X-15 ever landed on another airport than the one it launched from That depends on what you mean by "landed", "airport", and "another". On its free flights, it never landed on another airport than the one it started from. However, it also never landed at the airport it started from. In fact, it didn't ...


10

Great question, but no, the X-15 was not a "critical and necessary step on the path to manned space flight" at all, it was used to test the feasibility of sustained and controlled hypersonic flight of an aircraft at very high altitudes and speeds. The X-15 was an extension of the X program, started in the 1940s, to continuously push the speed envelope of ...


3

There were three competing ways to space pursued in the US while in the USSR everything was centrally managed, so they followed only the way that Konstantin Tsiolkovsky had first proposed. What were those three ways? The US Navy used a home-grown team to develop a rocket at the Naval Research Laboratory. Their Vanguard rocket failed several times, however, ...


3

Yes they did. Take away both rocket thrust and wing lift, and the plane goes into free fall. In this condition everything on board becomes weightless. The pilot would feel only the light bursts of thrust from the small manoeuvring rockets, and the slow return of aerodynamic lift during re-entry. You don't even need to go into outer space; check out the vomit ...


2

Theodolites operated by ground observers. Radar. Inertial instruments.


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