D-558-2 Skyrocket. Flown by Crossfield, was first past Mach 2: 20 Nov. 1953.

courtesy Dave Stoddard collection

A. Scott Crossfield, North American Aviation. X-15 Pilot No. 1.

courtesy North American Aviation

The Soviet Union's answer to the American X-plane program: the Samolet 346.

courtesy Al Esquivel collection

The Samolet 346 was the first experimental aircraft to use an under-wing pylon.

courtesy Al Esquivel collection

Artwork of early concept of the X-15 released to the public: 3 Feb. 1958.

courtesy author's collection

North American Aviation proposal for the X-15.

courtesy Edwards History Office

Iven Kincheloe with Scott Crossfield discussing the X-15.

courtesy North American Aviation

The X-15 engineering mockup at the North American Aviation plant: 14 Dec. 1956.

courtesy North American Aviation

Setting up the rocket sled for a test of the X-15 ejection seat and pressure suit.

courtesy North American Aviation

Scott Crossfield with "Scott Crossfield," the MC-2 pressure suit fit check dummy.

courtesy North American Aviation

A rare color photo of Crossfield at the US Navy centrifuge.

courtesy author's collection

Backup North American X-15 pilot Al White tests the MC-2.

courtesy author's collection

X-15 No. 1 nearing completion at the NAA plant in Los Angeles.

courtesy North American Aviation

Vice President Richard Nixon unveils the X-15 to the public: 15 Oct. 1958.

courtesy author's collection

X-15 No. 1 is surrounded by admiring guests at the rollout ceremony.

courtesy North American Aviation

Once the crowds cleared, Scott Crossfield poses with the first X-15.

courtesy North American Aviation, Robert L. Schrader, NAA Industrial Photographer

Walter Cronkite with Scott Crossfield at the rollout.

courtesy North American Aviation

Crossfield's son, Tom, tries on his dad's pressure suit helmet.

courtesy Sally Crossfield Farley collection

X-15 No. 1 rolls out for photgraphs.

courtesy author's collection

Harrison Storms with Scott Crossfield after the rollout.

courtesy North American Aviation

Paul Bikle (left) with Eugene Sanger (middle) check out the X-15 ejection seat.

courtesy Edwards History Office

The transport truck is ready to leave NAA and head up to Edwards.

courtesy North American Aviation

Unwrapping their new toy, the X-15 arrives at Edwards: 17 Oct. 1958.

courtesy Edwards History Office

Rollout day for X-15 No. 2: 27 Feb. 1959.

courtesy North American Aviation

X-15 mockup that traveled around the country promoting the hypersonic program. Note the tail number is "00000."

courtesy author's collection

Preparing the X-15 for its first flight.

courtesy Edwards History Office

Under the glare of worklights, the X-15 is mated to the B-52.

courtesy Dave Stoddard collection

Ground crewman signals the B-52 pilots as the mothership starts to roll to the runway.

courtesy author's collection

B-52 carries the X-15 safely home after the first captive flight: 1-C-1 on 10 Mar. 1959.

courtesy North American Aviation

Coming in for landing on first captive flight. Note the extended landing gear on X-15.

courtesy North American Aviation

Extreme wide-angle view shows the cramped X-15 cockpit.

courtesy North American Aviation

A mere moment after release from the B-52 mothership.

courtesy North American Aviation

First drop of the X-15: Flight 1-1 on 8 Jun. 1959.

courtesy North American Aviation

Flight 1-2 on 23 Jan. 1960.

courtesy North American Aviation

Touchdown of the first powered flight of the X-15 program: Flight 2-1 on 17 Sep. 1959.

courtesy North American Aviation

Crossfield in the cockpit and ready for another mission.

courtesy North American Aviation

First in-flight emergency broke the X-15's back: Flight 2-3-9 on 5 Nov. 1959.

courtesy North American Aviation

The mangled lower LR-11 rocket engine after fire broke out on 5 Nov. 1959.

courtesy North American Aviation

Installation of the first XLR99-RM-1 rocket engine: April 1960.

courtesy North American Aviation

The Propulsion System Test Stands.

courtesy TD Barnes collection

An LR-99 test stand run with X-15 No. 2: 1 Aug. 1960.

courtesy Edwards History Office

At the PSTS periscope is Edwards Fireman Jerry Miller.

courtesy North American Aviation

Aftermath of LR-99 mishap: 8 Jun. 1960.

courtesy Bob Hoey collection

X-15 No. 3 after it was rebuilt preparing for another LR-99 ground test.

courtesy author's collection

Technicians check the lower ventral parachute area on X-15 No. 1.

courtesy North American Aviation

B-52 Pilot Fitz Fulton. 94 missions.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Bob White, Scott Crossfield, and Joe Walker.

courtesy Cathie Godwin collection

The Crossfield Family.

courtesy Sally Crossfield Farley collection

Scott Crossfield after a successful mission.

courtesy author's collection

Crossfield gives the X-15 keys to White and Armstrong: 7 Feb. 1961.

courtesy North American Aviation