Before the Space Shuttle, there was the X-15, and before the X-15 there was the X-2. This winged missile, barely wide enough to house a man but harnessing enough power to drive a navy cruiser, went higher and faster than any other airplane before. It extended mankind’s reach toward space and was in a way a prototype of the winged space vehicles to follow. It was indeed the first of the spaceships and a tragic but heroic milestone in the conquest of space.
This is its untold story, with many declassified top secret documents, from the first unpowered flight to the last fatal sortie — the first one beyond Mach 3!!!.
The book includes never-before-seen pictures; biographies of all the X-2’s pilots and candidate pilots; seventeen flight test reports; incredibly detailed progress reports logging the day-by-day activities of the project at its apogee, a complete flight chronology with every powered and unpowered flight and many captive and cancelled flights.
Brig Gen Frank Everest, the only surviving X-2 pilot, wrote in his introduction:
” … this book is outstanding and I am delighted and honored to contribute. Henry Matthews has very painstakingly documented the history of the X-2 and reading it caused much nostalgia on my part as the X-2 program was one of the highlights of my life.”.
* Origins and Purpose
* General Description
* The Initial NACA Contribution
* Pilot Escape System
* Early X-2 Development Work
* The XLR-25 Rocket Engine
* The Brief Career of X-2 46-675
* The Unpowered Flights of X-2 46-674
* The First Powered Flights
* The High Speed Flights
* The High Altitude Flights
* Last Flight; Epilogue
* The X-2 Pilots & Engineers
* Flight Test Reports .. and more