William J. "Pete" Knight, US Air Force. X-15 Pilot No. 10.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Pete Knight and Bill Dana the day they were announced as X-15 pilots: 26 Jul. 1965.

courtesy NASA Headquarters

Moments after touchdown the ground crew arrives to aid pilot egress.

courtesy author's collection

Knight ready for launch on his second flight: 3-50-74 on 12 Oct. 1965.

courtesy Edwards History Office

Second full external tank flight: 2-50-89 on 18 Nov. 1966.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Final X-15A-2 flight before ablative applied: 2-51-92 on 8 May 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Ablative coating in place on cockpit and forward fuselage: Jun. 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Rollout of the pink, ablative-coated, X-15A-2: 21 Jun. 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Checking out the pink X-15A-2: 21 Jun. 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

A ghostly X-15 emerges from the paint shop. Compare to post flight photo below.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Knight checks out progress in applying white protective coating: 22 Jun. 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

The completed "White Knight" aircraft with its namesake: 4 Aug. 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

The newly unveiled white X-15A-2 next to XB-70 No. 1: 4 Aug. 1967.

courtesy North American Aviation

B-52 No. 008 carries the X-15A-2 to altitude for launch: 2-53-97 on 3 Oct. 1967.

courtesy author's collection

Knight drops away and ignites the LR-99 for his speed run to Mach 6.70.

courtesy Edwards History Office

The X-15A-2 accelerates toward 4,520 mph: 2-53-97 on 3 Oct. 1967.

courtesy Edwards History Office

The X-15A-2 at Mach 6.7 (4,520 mph). Still the fastest manned aircraft flight ever performed: 2-53-97 on 3 Oct. 1967.

computer art courtesy Thommy Eriksson

A very long telephoto shot of the X-15A-2 as it came in for landing. Note the blackened scramjet pylon and upper speed breaks.

courtesy Robert Lanktree collection

Firefighters spray the X-15A-2 to cool it off following the Mach 6.70 flight.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

After seeing the severe heat damage to his aircraft, Knight walks away for debriefing.

courtesy Edwards History Office

The day after the Mach 6.70 flight, assessment of the damage caused by the hypersonic shockwave impingement continues.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Close-up view showing the burn-through damage to the lower ventral area.

courtesy Bill Albrecht collection

Scramjet was heavily damaged after premature ejection over the Bombing Range.

courtesy Bill Albrecht collection

Maj. Gen. Hanson greets Knight after astronaut qualification: 3-64-95 on 17 Oct. 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Maj. Gen. Hanson presents Pete Knight with his astronaut wings: 29 Jan. 1968.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Knight (left) and Dana (center) at the Beatty High Range Radar Station.

courtesy TD Barnes collection

Receiving Harmon trophy from LBJ: 3 Dec. 1968.

courtesy North American Aviation

Knight as a proper English gentleman.

courtesy North American Aviation

Knight (center), Dana (third from right), and Armstrong (far right) with Titan/X-20 mockup.

courtesy Edwards History Office

Unveiling the X-20 Dyna-Soar mockup: 24 Sep. 1962.

courtesy Defense Audio Visual Agency