Recently released is “The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space” by Michelle Evans.
With the Soviet Union’s launch of the first Sputnik satellite in 1957, the Cold War soared to new heights as Americans feared losing the race into space. The X-15 Rocket Plane tells the story of the hypersonic X-15, the winged rocket ship that met this challenge and opened the way into human-controlled spaceflight.
Drawing on interviews with those who were there, Michelle Evans captures the drama and excitement of rocket science: How to handle the heat generated at speeds up to Mach 7, how to make a rocket propulsion system that could throttle, and how to safely reenter the atmosphere from space and make a precision landing.
The book puts a human face on the feats of science and engineering that went into the X-15 program, many of them critical to the development of the Space Shuttle, according to the publishers.
It also introduces us to the largely unsung pilots of the X-15. By the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing, 31 American astronauts had flown into space — eight of them astronaut-pilots of the X-15.
Michelle Evans is the founder of Mach 25 Media and is an aerospace writer, photographer, and education specialist. She served in the U.S. Air Force working on nuclear missiles, is the producer of several documentaries about space exploration, and is a contributor to Space Daily, Space.com, and Ad Astra.
The book was published by the University of Nebraska Press