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  The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space (Michelle L. Evans) (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space (Michelle L. Evans)
x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 05-27-2013 01:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by NAAmodel#240:
As you know, Dave knows his stuff and he says your work is terrific.
Dave Stoddard was a really amazing help in connecting me with some great people on the X-15. Can't say enough about him.
quote:
You are probably one of a scant few that understands my username.
Yep, definitely know the meaning of your username. If you happen to scroll down the right side of this page of photos you'll see a close-up of the skin of the X-15 with that number on it.

Hope you have a great read.

johntosullivan
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From: Cork, Cork, Ireland
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posted 05-30-2013 04:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just listened to Michelle on the Space Show and all I can say is congratulations.
As a reader of the Outward Odyssey series, I am very much looking forward to this book.

As for the Space Show, it was a breath of fresh air to have a supremely knowledgeable guest with great aerospace and engineering program to discuss. Congrats again.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 05-30-2013 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your comments about my interview on The Space Show. David has a great show and it was wonderful to be a part of it again. I loved the part where he was comparing my knowledge of the X-15 to a baseball statistician. It just struck me as funny to think of it in that way, then got to thinking how fun it would be to have a series of X-15 cards like baseball cards. Collect all 12 pilot cards, and the big one, a card for each of the 199 flights!

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 06-06-2013 01:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For anyone who might still be interested in listening to the interview on The Space Show, it is available in the archives here (mp3).

heng44
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From: Netherlands
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posted 06-08-2013 01:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Twenty years ago I attempted to make a portrait of all the X-15 pilots together, just as I did for the twelve moonwalkers. I am not completely happy with the result, but I'll show it here anyway. I'd like to think my skills have improved over the years.

By the way, I have received Michelle's book and am currently reading it. From what I've seen so far it is highly recommended.

 photo 1993-09_X-15-pilots_zps540650e9.jpg

x15gal
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posted 06-09-2013 04:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a very cool painting. Nice to see all twelve in one shot. There are several groups shots throughout the program, but never one with all 12, so it is great that you honored all of the together.

micropooz
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posted 06-15-2013 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I used to think that I was an X-15 expert. Then I read this book...and I am duly humbled!

Outstanding job Ms Evans! Your book is the penultimate in X-15 history!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this book!!!

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 06-16-2013 03:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Much appreciate your comments about the book. Glad you enjoyed the read and got a lot out of it.

Kite
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From: Northampton UK
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posted 07-08-2013 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Really enjoyed this very comprehensive story of the X15 pilots and the rest of the ground, backroom and management teams, and of course the amazing plane itself. Well done Michelle.

One thing I did not understand was how North American only allowed Scott Crossfield to test the plane for them when backup pilot Alvin White was available. I'd thought to have two pilots current on the progamme would have been better and not let Crossfield be so dominant.

albatron
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posted 07-08-2013 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by heng44:
Twenty years ago I attempted to make a portrait of all the X-15 pilots together, just as I did for the twelve moonwalkers. I am not completely happy with the result, but I'll show it here anyway.
Ed, I think you did an excellent job. Any chance of getting a copy or image?

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 08-30-2013 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wanted to make a couple of announcements concerning my X-15 book. It has now been confirmed that I have two talks coming up on the X-15 that I wanted to pass along.

The first will be at the Weisbrod Air Museum in Pueblo, Colorado, at 2:00 pm on Sunday October 6.

The second will, be for the AIAA, Orange County Chapter in Huntington Beach at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, October 22.

I hope that some of you from this forum might be able to make it to either of these talks, and if anyone has suggestions for other venues, please let me know. Also, if anyone needs more specifics on either of these scheduled talks, I would be glad to provide it as well.

RockyMnWay
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From: Westminster, CO, USA
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posted 08-30-2013 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RockyMnWay   Click Here to Email RockyMnWay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fantastic! I live in Denver and will be there. I am looking forward to it.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 08-31-2013 01:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking forward to meeting you in Pueblo. Be sure to introduce yourself.

Ade74
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From: Peterborough, England
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posted 09-17-2013 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ade74   Click Here to Email Ade74     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've just finished reading the book and must say what a fantastic book it was. Eye opening, informative and very hard to put down!

If anyone is thinking of reading it but hasn't... do it, you won't be disappointed.

JPSastro
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From: Tucson, Arizona
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posted 09-18-2013 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JPSastro   Click Here to Email JPSastro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Recently finished this most excellent book on the history the 15.

The writing was great and the stories taught me even more about the project that thought I've pretty much read everything about.

Kudos to the author, her passion on the 15 shows.

Do yourself a favor and grab a copy and enjoy.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 09-18-2013 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you very much for the accolades. I very much appreciate feedback from those who have read my book.

I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting some of you at one of my upcoming talks on the X-15. The one in Huntington Beach for the AIAA on October 22 has now opened their registration. Non-members of the AIAA have a $5 charge to attend, but that does include pizza and drinks.

Thanks again, Michelle

GoesTo11
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posted 10-24-2013 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If anyone missed it, the October issue of BBC's Sky at Night magazine features a capsule review of The X-15 Rocket Plane by Piers Bizony, as well as a Q & A with Michelle.

albatron
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From: Stuart, Florida, USA
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posted 10-24-2013 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kite:
One thing I did not understand was how North American only allowed Scott Crossfield to test the plane for them when backup pilot Alvin White was available.
I wanted to confirm some notes before I answered this. I had spoken with Al White a lot when I was writing up his NAHF nomination and asked him why he never got a chance to fly it.

Obviously not for any reason regarding his ability, but he stated, Scotty really "hogged" it, but he said it in a jovial manner. Basically it was his bird and the understanding was he was there solely "just in case".

Also the XB-70 was not far down the road, and he was moved over to that program where he became the Chief Test Pilot.

John Manke was also in the pipe to fly the X-15, but the program ended before he could.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 10-27-2013 02:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are absolutely correct with regard to Al White versus Crossfield. When I spoke with Crossfield I asked him about this. His reply that I used in the book is:

“Al was laying awake nights figuring out how he could break my legs so he could get into the X-15.”

Harrison Storms told me: “[Al White] just never got by Crossfield, that’s all… I know it was one of the big disappointments of Al’s life, but there were only so many flights, and once you got going, there was no reason to change… The situation never arose where Al could be worked into the cockpit.”

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 10-29-2013 02:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I very much appreciate the heads up about the review in the Sky at Night magazine. None of the book stores around here carries the magazine and I'm not sure how long until they will get a copy sent over to me. By chance do you know if the review is available online?

GoesTo11
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posted 10-29-2013 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't find a copy of the Sky at Night's review online. The magazine typically appears (on the few US newsstands which carry it) around the third week of the cover month. I snagged the last October issue from the B & N at Park Meadows.

Anyway, Bizony gives the book four out of five stars. His only criticism, as such, is that he'd have liked to see more context on the project...the "whys" and "hows" of the X-15 program's initiation and its place in the overall arc of the US manned spaceflight effort. Otherwise nothing but praise.

I can't speak to that; I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the book. I'm really enjoying it so far, and with respect to Bizony's view above it seems to me that The X-15 Rocket Plane is constructed very much in keeping with the "mission" of the UNP series: Those who were there tell their stories, and the authors deliver them to the audience as engagingly as possible. Terrific work so far.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 10-30-2013 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the additional info on the review. Sorry to hear he didn't give it five stars. Glad that you are enjoying the book so far and I look forward to hearing what you think when you finish.

I was finally able to get hold of someone at the magazine and they are supposed to ship me off a copy so I can see what Bizony had to say.

dom
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posted 01-23-2014 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michelle, I've just finished your book (a great read) and was particularly fascinated by the story of pilot Mike Adams.

Just wondering what might have happened to him if he hadn't been involved in that earlier crash with Dave Scott and had been accepted into NASA in the early 1960s. What missions might he have potentially flown or would the medical condition that is possibly to blame for his X-15 accident have stopped his spaceflight career?

Philip
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posted 01-24-2014 05:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A less known fact: first space telescope was carried onboard an X-15 flight...

x15gal
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posted 01-25-2014 01:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dom:
I've just finished your book (a great read) and was particularly fascinated by the story of pilot Mike Adams.
Thanks for your comments about my book. Glad you had a wonderful journey. The chapter on Mike Adams was especially hard to write, knowing the way it would end.

As far as how his career might have gone if the earlier accident had not happened, it is certainly hard to say for sure. As I mentioned in the book, he was up for astronaut selection and could have gone into the Gemini program. If that had happened his accident in the X-15 would not have happened because the vertigo he was susceptible to, most likely would not have been a factor on a Gemini or Apollo mission. You also had at least one other crew member present, which would have made a lot of difference.

Even on the X-15, if they had simply had the heading indication telemetered to NASA 1, he could have been warned of what was transpiring, and gotten it straightened out before he started his reentry, and again, things would have turned out much differently.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 01-25-2014 01:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
A less known fact: first space telescope was carried onboard an X-15 flight...
Yes, you are correct about that. Of course it was a small telescope and their was limited use of it during the program, but that certainly was a precursor to what we have seen come down the line later. The X-15 pioneered so many things that people are not aware of. That was something that I hope came across in the book. It's always great to hear from people who say they are fans of the X-15 and yet they still found new things they had never heard about before in my book.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 01-25-2014 01:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also wanted to let the cS group know that I will be giving my presentation on the X-15 on Friday, May 9th, at 2:00 pm at Spacefest VI in Pasadena. I hope that many of you might be able to come out and join the program.

The whole Outward Odyssey group of authors has been invited to come to Spacefest, and there is supposed to be a panel discussion on Saturday the 10th from what I understand, plus we will have a booth set up throughout the show.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 01-29-2014 01:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I posted this info on a different area of cS previously, but wanted to repeat it here in hopes of getting the word out.

On May 18th at 11:00 am we are going to hold a re-dedication ceremony at the site of the Michael Adams Monument near Ridgecrest, CA. We will be installing brand new display boards that tell more about the X-15, Mike Adams, the accident, and the monument itself.

ea757grrl
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posted 01-29-2014 09:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It took me long enough, but I finally got my copy of Michelle's book a week or so back, and I look forward to giving it the careful reading it deserves. Michelle, my congratulations to you - someday I hope to meet you and tell you as much in person.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 01-29-2014 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for your comments. I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say after you've had a chance to read the book. Would love to sign your copy someday.

Henry Heatherbank
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posted 01-30-2014 03:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have really enjoyed reading this book - well done Michelle, this is a fascinating piece of work.

But one comment and a related question: putting this simply, the chapter dealing with Neil Armstrong's time with the program seems to focus very extensively on his failings/shortcomings to a greater extent than the other pilots. This is partly explained by personal circumstances in Armstrong's life at the time. One example is the test landing on one of the lakebeds after heavy rains that Armstrong did in the F-104 with Yeager flying backseat (which is also covered in Yeager's autobiography).

I'd be interested to hear why this chapter had this focus rather than on the engineering aspects of the missions he flew (other than, of course, the bits about the MH-96 adaptive flight control system). Was this the only material available to work with? Just curious.

Rusty53
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posted 02-01-2014 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty53     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received my copy of the book today and was able to use Michelle Evans' description of the drive to the High Range stations to locate the Ely station on Google Earth.

It looks like at least some of the structures including the radar tower were still there as of June, 2012. I am less sure that I found the Beatty station since it is not labelled, but I followed her directions in the book and was able to locate a spot that looks like the "foot print" of an abandoned site of some sort. It also fits her description of overlooking "the southern end of Sarcobatus Flat" to its west. Maybe I have too much time on my hands.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
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posted 02-03-2014 01:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Henry Heatherbank:
I'd be interested to hear why this chapter had this focus rather than on the engineering aspects of the missions he flew...
So much has been written about Neil, so I needed to find something that had not been said before. Yes, some of this was covered to an extent in Yeager's book, but not to the true extent of all that happened throughout that period of Neil's career. I also had a unique opportunity that no one had ever had before, and that was talking directly to Neil's boss, Paul Bikle. His perspective made it all possible to truly tell that story as never before.

What it came down to was the fact that if Neil had not screwed up several flights in a row as he did with the X-15 skip flight and the other incidents after that, he most likely never would have gone to the Moon. He knew that things were going badly, and he needed to leave Edwards after the death of his daughter. If that death had not happened, Neil probably would never have screwed up those flights, and he most likely would have stayed on the X-15 instead of applying for Houston.

And in general, you will find that each chapter has a unique focus, rather than just speaking directly of any specific technology or engineering work. Some examples: Chapter 4 (Petersen) dealt with the rocket engine development; Chapter 9 (Thompson) dealt with the X-15 and the media; and Chapter 11 (Dana) dealt with experiments.

Neil is always portrayed as a very unflappable person, so I took this opportunity to delve into an aspect of his character that is often overlooked.

x15gal
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From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 02-03-2014 01:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rusty53:
I received my copy of the book today and was able to use Michelle Evans' description of the drive to the High Range stations to locate the Ely station on Google Earth.
I think that is great to search out these sites. I'm glad that the descriptions in my book were enough to find them on Google Earth. Hope you had a good time searching for the old sites.

Yes, the structures at Ely were still in place the last I heard, and I believe they are still being used on occasion (at least they were when I drove up there about 8 years ago).

The Beatty site only has the outline you describe. All the buildings are indeed gone, but it was fun to go up there and sit on the old foundation and fix myself some lunch one afternoon, then search around and find a few old pieces of electronics still scattered about the area.

On my website you can find two download files for the special tour itinerary I created called "In the Footsteps of the X-15." One is the itinerary and the other has a set of maps to go with the itinerary. Tour Stop 7 is a detailed description of exactly how to get up to the Beatty site, and Tour Stop 11 is the same for the Ely site.

So, if you really want to have some fun, download the maps and itinerary and take a fun trip through X-15 territory. One of these days I am going to organize an official tour as I've had several people who have said they would love to do that.

Thanks for picking up the book.

Henry Heatherbank
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From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 02-03-2014 03:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by x15gal:
Neil is always portrayed as a very unflappable person, so I took this opportunity to delve into an aspect of his character that is often overlooked.
Thanks for that clear explanation; the different focus in each chapter is precisely why this book is so brilliantly good.

Certainly a very brave decision to cover Armstrong's involvement that way, but you have done it very, very well. [SPOILER ALERT] - I thought the way you wrapped up the chapter with the account of Armstrong openly retelling the story of him being grounded and forced to fly backseat with Joe Walker for 10 hours was a great way to "humanise" Armstrong.

I have especially liked the chapter on Joe Engle, whose time with the X-15 program has usually only been a footnote to other coverage of his NASA career. And the Milt Thompson chapter covering the media interest and the motion picture filmed at EAFB during his time on the X-15 has been really fascinating.

It was a real shame to finish the book!!

Rusty53
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From: Rochester, NY USA
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posted 02-03-2014 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty53     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michelle, I am really enjoying your book and thanks for the heads up on your website.

x15gal
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Posts: 55
From: Lake Forest, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 06-16-2014 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for x15gal   Click Here to Email x15gal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been having a wonderful time over the past year doing presentations based on my X-15 book. Because of the interest, I have set up a special page on my web site to highlight the talks, and also as a place where people can go to get more info about them in case they might be interested in hosting one themselves. You can check out the page here.

I've also included links to other authors in the Outward Odyssey series. I hope that they may also be able to get out and talk about their books.

If anyone ever has suggestions on places where I can take these presentations, please let me know. I am always excited to share the story of the X-15 with interested people at locations such as professional organizations, museums, science centers, etc.


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