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xplanes
A group picture of Douglas airplanes, taken for a photographic promotion in 1954 at what is now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The photo includes the X-3 in front and then clockwise D-558-1, XF4D-1, and the first D-558-II.

xplanes

Place pointer over image to obtain caption.
Click on image to enlarge.

X-1
 Built by Bell Aircraft Corp., the first rocket-powered research aircraft 
also became, in October 1947, the first plane to break the sound barrier

X-2
 Built by Bell Aircraft Corp., the X-2 was designed during the 1950s with 
a swept wing to fly three times the speed of sound. Two aircraft were built 
and both were lost in accidents.

X-3
 Built by the Douglas Aircraft Co., and nicknamed the Stiletto, the aircraft 
was designed to test flying at twice the speed of sound for at least 30 minutes 
at a time.

X-4
 Built by Northrop Aircraft Corp., this aircraft was designed to test the 
characteristics of a nearly tailless jet flying close to the speed of sound.

X-5
 Built by Bell Aircraft Corp., this was history's first jet with the ability 
to swing its wing in flight, testing different wing shapes at various velocities approaching the speed of sound.

X-6
 Never actually built, the idea was to take a B-36 -- like the one pictured 
-- and make it a nuclear-powered bomber. Two bombers were chosen to have reactors installed and were to be called X-6s. A third aircraft, known as an NB-36H, did fly a reactor to test radiation shielding

X-7
 Built by Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., this unmanned aircraft was designed 
to test ramjet engine technology.

X-8
 Built by Aerojet General, this was essentially the Aerobee sounding rocket 
and designed to be an inexpensive tool for sending suborbital payloads as 
high as 150 miles into space.

X-9
 Built by Bell Aircraft Corp., and nicknamed the Shrike, the vehicle demonstrated technology for firing air-to-surface missiles that was to lead to development and production of the Rascal nuclear missile.

X-10  Built by North American Aviation as a testbed for the upper stage of the 
Navaho cruise missile, the X-10 basically looked like the red and white portion of the Navaho seen here on display at the gate to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Tests of the X-10 at the Cape is why a 10,000-foot (3,000 meter)
'Skid Strip' originally was constructed.

X-11
Never built, the X-11 was to be the first of a two-part program by Convair
that eventually became the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile, seen
here launching from Cape Canaveral during May 1965.

X-12
 Never built, the X-12 was to be the second of a two-part program by Convair 
that eventually became the Atlas missile, seen here in the modern era as a
commercial launcher lifting off from Cape Canaveral during April 1999.

X-13
 Built by the Ryan Aeronautical Co., this was the first aircraft to demonstrate 
the ability to take off and land vertically, doing so upright on its tail 
and for the first time in April 1957.

x1 X-14
 Built by Bell Aircraft Corp., this aircraft demonstrated vertical take off 
and landing but with the airplane in a standard horizontal attitude. The aircraftwas eventually used to help Apollo astronauts train for lunar landings.

 X-15
 Built by North American Aviation, this rocket powered airplane reached to 
the edge of space, flying more than five times the speed of sound and is one
of the most successful and well known of the X-planes. Technology and procedures developed by this program were directly applied to the Space Shuttle.

 X-16
 This twin-engine jet was designed by the Bell Aircraft Corporation to be 
a high-altitude spy plane but was never built. It was to have resembled the 
Lockheed U-2, seen here in this Air Force image.

 X-17
 The X-17 was a solid-fueled rocket built by Lockheed Missiles & Space 
that tested different shaped nose cones re-entering Earth's atmosphere under 
various conditions.

 X-18
 A single X-18 was built by the Hiller Aircraft Corporation as part of studying designs for an operating vertical takeoff and landing aircraft in which the entire wing tilts along with the twin turboprop engines.

 X-19
 A pair of X-19 aircraft were built by Curtis-Wright Corporation in continuing 
tests related to tilting engines and propellers for vertical takeoff and landings with larger airplanes. Image is of scale model manufactured in Japan by Akatombo Works.

 X-20
 Nicknamed the Dyna-Soar, this unpowered lifting body concept was designed 
by Boeing for NASA to use in flight test at high speeds and for the Air Force 
for military man in space missions. A team of astronauts were selected to 
fly the X-20, which was never built.

 X-21
 A pair of X-21 aircraft were built by Northrop Corporation to test methods 
for precisely controlling the flow of air over the wings of of larger planes. 
The X-21 was primarily a modified Douglas B-66.

X-22
 Bell Aircraft Corp. designed and built this configuration for testing stability control systems in vertical or short field takeoff and landing aircraft.

 X-23
 Martin Marietta Corp. built the unpowered X-23 to support Air Force and
NASA programs that needed data on maneuvering spacecraft as they re-entered
Earth's atmosphere. It was a subscale model of the X-24 and was launched
from California atop Atlas missiles.

X-24a
 Martin Marietta Corp. built this rocket-powered lifting body so Air Force 
and NASA pilots could test how well this design would fly at low speeds during 
an approach to touchdown.

 X-24b
 The Air Force modified an X-24A to test a different aerodynamic shape. Later, 
this aircraft was used to test landing techniques for NASA's Space Shuttle 
program.

 X-25
 Bensen Aircraft Corp. built three of these small mini-helicopters which
were used in tests of a maneuverable, flyable ejection seat.

 X-26A/B
 A Schweizer sailplane served as the basis for the X-26A (top) and X-26B. 
The X-26A was used to train Navy pilots while the X-26B was used as a quiet 
spy plane over Vietnam.

X-27
 Lockheed proposed this concept as a lightweight international fighter and 
an eventual replacement for the F-104. Only a mockup was built.

 X-28
 The Navy purchased a single homebuilt airplane from Pereira Aircraft called 
the Osprey 1 and designated it the X-28 to see if it could serve as an inexpensive flier for police duties over Vietnam.

 X-29
 Grumman Aerospace built a pair of X-29s for NASA to test the benefits of 
using a forward-swept wing on a supersonic aircraft. The airplane used a composite wing and relied on a sophisticated flight control system to remain in stable while flying.

 X-30
 Known as the National Aerospace Plane, or NASP, this was supposed to be
the research program that would lead to commercial airliners flying from
New York to Tokyo in an hour. Much work was done but no vehicle ever flew.

X-31
 This supersonic jet tests ways to fly a fighter with the nose pitched way 
up compared to the direction of flight. The technique hopes to provide more 
maneuverability in future aircraft so pilots can better survive aerial assaults.

 X-32
 This is Boeing's contribution to the military's Joint Strike Fighter competition 
to provide a 21st century war plane.

X-33
 NASA recently scrubbed this program intended to build and test fly a half-scale model of a new Reusable Launch Vehicle that was to have been called VentureStar.

 X-34
 Also just canceled by NASA, the X-34 was intended to demonstrate new technologies needed for future reusable rockets that could lower the cost of reaching orbit.

X-35
 This is Lockheed Martin's contribution to the military's Joint Strike Fighter 
competition to provide a 21st century war plane.

X-36
 Flown in 1997, this approximate one-third scale model was an unmanned, remote-controlled jet that had no vertical tail and demonstrated ideas that would be incorporated into the military's Joint Strike Fighter program.

 X-37
 Possibly launched from the Space Shuttle, the X-37 is an unmanned reusable 
rocket designed to test new rocket technology that would lower the cost of 
flying into space.

 X-38
 NASA considered this design, based on the X-24 lifting body, for a spaceship 
that would be used in an emergency to evacuate up to seven crew members from 
the International Space Station.

 X-39, 41, & 42
 The X-39, X-41 and X-42 all are believed to exist but are part of clandestine 
operations and no imagery is available. Their missions are thought to involve 
advanced technology for future fighters, re-entry vehicles and upper stage 
rockets, respectively.

 X-40
 Essentially a larger version of the X-37 designed to fly at subsonic speeds 
to test its aerodynamic characteristics, the unpowered X-40 was flown once 
in 1998.

 X-43
 Designed to test an air breathing engine at hypersonic speeds, the X-43
was lost on its first flight in June 2001 when the Pegasus rocket it was
attached to flew out of control.

 X-44
 This reportedly is an idea for an aircraft that can maneuver without any 
moving wing flaps, using instead its engine exhaust deflected in different 
directions to steer.

X-45
 This research aircraft, also known as an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle, is 
designed to test and demonstrate new technology for remotely eliminating enemy
defenses.

X-46 A Naval UCAV system to conduct sea-based suppression of enemy air defenses, strike, and surveillance missions.

X-47 - A joint DARPA/Navy project to demonstrate the technical feasibility for a UCAV system to conduct sea-based surveillance, suppression of enemy air defenses, and strike missions.

X-48 - Test flights of the Blended Wing Body aircraft concept will begin in 2004.

X-49 - The X-49 demonstrator was skipped because DARPA requested X-50 designation for the Dragonfly X-50.

 X-50
 A 37-month effort to design, build, and fly two technology demonstrators to acces and validate the X-50 Dragonfly Canard Rotor/Wing advanced rotorcraft.

D-558
 The D588 Skystreak performed an important role in aeronautical research by flying for extended periods of time at transonic speeds, complementing the X-1 that flew for limited periods at supersonic speeds. The rocket-powered air-launched D-558-II Skyrocket became the first aircraft to exceed Mach 2.

The XX-24,  M2-F3, and the HL-10 wingless lifting bodies that tested orbital reentry, approach and lands for the development of the space shuttle.




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