This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at X-15B

X-15B - Orbital X-15 proposed for Project 7969

Credit: (c) Mark Wade. 9,079 bytes. 211 x 480 pixels.

Class: Manned. Type: Spacecraft. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: North American.

North American's proposal for the Air Force initial manned space project was to extend the X-15 program. The X-15B was a 'stripped' X-15A with an empty mass of 4500 kg. It would use a three-stage Navaho-derived launch vehicle to achieve a single orbit with an apogee of 120 km and a perigee of 75 km. The launch vehicle consisted of 4 x G-26 Navaho booster stages plus the X-15B's own XLR-99 engine. Due to the low perigee and aerodynamics of the X-15, no retrorocket was required, although the X-15's restartable engine could be used if necessary. Using its cross range capability of about 800 to 1,000 km, the X-15 would ditch in the Gulf of Mexico. The heat shield would consist of beryllium oxide and Rene 41 alloy. The pilot would eject and land by parachute, with the aircraft being lost. The spacecraft had a ballistic coefficient (W/CdA) of 250 kg per square meter. It was expected that a first manned orbital flight could be achieved 30 months after a go-ahead at a cost of $ 120 million.


Total Mass: 4,500 kg.


Project 7969 DesignsProject 7969 Designs - Project 7969 designs using extensive aerodynamic maneuvering. From left: North American X-15B; Bell Dynasoar; Northrop Dynasoar; Republic Demi body; Avco maneuverable drag cone.

Credit: (c) Mark Wade. 13,174 bytes. 640 x 240 pixels.

Back to Index
Last update 12 March 2001.
Contact Mark Wade with any corrections or comments.
Conditions for use of drawings, pictures, or other materials from this site..
© Mark Wade, 2001 .