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  Space Cover 02: The X-15's Teething Pains

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 02: The X-15's Teething Pains

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 04-26-2009 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 2 (April 27, 2009)

Space Cover #2, The X-15's Teething Pains

Fifty years ago this month, the X-15 was going through its "teething pains", trying to get a first glide-flight on the books. The X-15 had been taken aloft under the wing of its NB-52 mother ship three times - once as an intentional captive flight on March 10, 1959, and twice as aborted attempts at a glide-flight. This third captive flight, on April 10, 1959, was documented on the cover shown below. Both auxiliary power units on the X-15 failed before the drop, aborting this attempt. The X-15 finally underwent a glide-flight on June 8, 1959, and a rocket-powered flight on Sept 17, 1959. The X-15 went on to perform 199 total free flights, including 13 that earned its pilots astronaut wings (some posthumously).

This cover was postmarked at Edwards, Ca. (the same post office as Edwards AFB, Ca., just different postmark hubs) on April 10, 1959, for that third captive flight. It was most likely un-cacheted at the time of postmarking with the computer-generated cachet applied fairly recently. I don't know who made the cachet - anyone know?

Covers for the March 10 captive flight are known. Edwards postmarked covers for the June 8, 1959 glide flight are unknown to me. Has anyone seen one?

Starting with the Sept 17 flight, George Goldey printed cachets for the X-15 flights up until around 1963. Boy Scout Troop 141 at Edwards developed a rubber stamped cachet (aka - Boy Scout Cachet) in the 1960 timeframe that became the norm for most subsequent X-15 covers through the end of the program in 1968.


Posts: 2103
From: Stuart, Florida, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 05-18-2009 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis, I somehow missed this posting and just saw it. As always you make the most amazing finds. But no, I've never seen a glide flight cover of any type.

I also agree, this appears to have been added much more recently.

Another thing I have difficulty with is lining up dates sometimes. I've been unable to find a good listing of aborts to compare to some dates of covers I have.


Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 05-18-2009 09:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the kind words Al!

A listing of the X-15 scrub/captive flights, along with free flight logs of the X-15, MX-324, X-1 series, X-2, D-558-II, and lifting bodies can be found in "The Edwards Rocketplane Cover Handbook". The handbook is now being sold on CD by the Space Unit. It can be ordered through the Space Unit Secretary, Carmine Torissi at I believe it is $10 but best to check with Carmine first.


Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 05-19-2009 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The actual cost of the "The Edwards Rocketplane Cover Handbook" and other publications from the Space Unit can be found on their website under SU Publications For Sale. For non-members $14.00 postpaid to USA and Canadian addresses and $17.00 airmail to other countries. Space Unit members receive a $2 discount.

The SU website has lots of useful information.

All times are CT (US)

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