At the Edge of Space: The X-15 Flight Program [NOOK Book]

Overview

In At the Edge of Space, Milton O. Thompson tells the dramatic story of one of the most successful research aircraft ever flown. The first full-length account of the X-15 program, the book profiles the twelve test pilots (Neil Armstrong, Joe Engle, Scott Crossfield, and the author among them) chosen for the program. Thompson has translated a highly technical subject into readable accounts of each pilot's participation, including many heroic and humorous anecdotes and highlighting the pilots' careers after the ...
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At the Edge of Space: The X-15 Flight Program

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Overview

In At the Edge of Space, Milton O. Thompson tells the dramatic story of one of the most successful research aircraft ever flown. The first full-length account of the X-15 program, the book profiles the twelve test pilots (Neil Armstrong, Joe Engle, Scott Crossfield, and the author among them) chosen for the program. Thompson has translated a highly technical subject into readable accounts of each pilot's participation, including many heroic and humorous anecdotes and highlighting the pilots' careers after the program ended in 1968.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Initiated in the 1950s, the X-15 program tested a unique rocket-powered aircraft at supersonic speeds in the atmosphere's outer limits. The stubby-winged, needle-nosed craft achieved speeds of 4000 mph, could fly at altitudes of well over 200,000 feet and yielded data crucial to NASA's space missions. Thomson, one of the test pilots, traces the technical developments of the program, emphasizing the viewpoint of the men who (barely) controlled the unpredictable plane in the air. He demonstrates through a series of vivid anecdotes the effect of g forces, extreme vertigo and other mental and physical problems associated with supersonic flight. Thompson includes accounts of hair-raising emergency rescues and a somber description of the death of one of his colleagues during a 1967 test flight. Retired in 1968 along with the program itself, the X-15 now hangs in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Surprisingly, it is still the world's fastest airplane. Thompson's well-written history of the program captures the technical challenges, the camaraderie and, most of all, the high adventure of X-15 flight. Highly recommended. Photos. (June)
Library Journal
The X-15 was perhaps the most famous of the X series of rocket planes designed to explore supersonic flight regimes. Thompson's engaging account of the joint U.S. Air Force/NASA program is part memoir (he flew 14 X-15 missions), part history. He describes the plane, the pilots, and the program that explored high altitude hypersonic flight, setting altitude and speed records that remain unbroken more than 25 years later. His firsthand account is filled with humorous insider's anecdotes that successfully humanize the technical aspects of these demanding and dangerous flights that paved the way for the space shuttle. Appendixes provide detailed data on all 199 X-15 flights that, in retrospect, make the reader wonder how the program was accomplished with only one in-flight fatality. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-- Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga.
Booknews
A narrative account of NASA's ambitious program, initiated in the 1950s, to test the survivability of rocket-powered aircraft at hypersonic speeds and at the outermost limits of the earth's atmosphere. The 12 test pilots are profiled. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“Thompson brings the era to life, describing the triumph and tragedy of the pilots and technicians that worked on perhaps the country’s most ambitious Xplane testing program.”—Sky & Telescope

“Thompson is especially strong in describing the human dimension of the X-15 effort, enlivening the narrative with both heroic and humorous anecdotes.”—Air Power History

“Couldn’t put it down.”—U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings

“Thompson’s well-written history of the program captures the technical challenges, the camaraderie and, most of all, the high adventure of X-15 flight. Highly recommended.”—Publishers Weekly

“. . . a very worthwhile book.”—New Scientist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588343864
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 422,417
  • File size: 23 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Milton O. Thompson (1926-1993) was chief engineer at the NASA Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility in Edwards, California.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2001

    Must read for engineers

    Talking about ¿pushing the envelop¿ of flight testing. In this book, Milton O. Thompson accomplished pushing the envelop of satire in a delightful account of mostly serious flight test scenarios. I couldn¿t help but wonder how much fun it must have been for him to be a major, contributing part of a cutting edge aeronautical engineering team. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in ¿real engineering adventures¿.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2000

    A great book!

    Interested in the X-15 program, I found this book at a local library and read it in a matter of days. Milton Thompson's detailed discussion of individual X-15 test flights is especially good. I recommend this book to anyone interested in aviation history. This book is a must read for any aerospace engineer!

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