The Insane Engineering of the X-15

31. mars. 2021
1 962 343 Ganger

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Thank you to Charlie Garcia for his invaluable advice and expertise during the scripting process of this video:
3D Model provided by Clément Moreau:
Writer/Narrator: Brian McManus
Editor: Dylan Hennessy
Animator: Mike Ridolfi (
Sound: Graham Haerther (
Thumbnail: Simon Buckmaster
Fact Checker: Charlie Garcia
The research for this video took about 4 weeks with the help of the reports, books, research papers, and nasa communications below. Charlie Garcia also kindly lent his expertise in rocket propulsion as a fact checker and advisor for the project. We normally show numbers on screen, but numbers got mixed up during the convoluted writing process and it’s now 12 pm the night before upload and I just can’t bring myself to link them all appropriately, but rest assured that all information in the video comes from one of the fantastic resources linked below.
[8] Page 247
[15] Page 23
[16] Page 440
[17] Page 16
[18] page 74
[21] Haynes 117
[22] Page 440
[23] Page 444

Thank you to AP Archive for access to their archival footage.
Music by Epidemic Sound:
Thank you to my patreon supporters: Adam Flohr, Henning Basma, Hank Green, William Leu, Tristan Edwards, Ian Dundore, John & Becki Johnston. Nevin Spoljaric, Jason Clark, Thomas Barth, Johnny MacDonald, Stephen Foland, Alfred Holzheu, Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Binghaith, Brent Higgins, Dexter Appleberry, Alex Pavek, Marko Hirsch, Mikkel Johansen, Hibiyi Mori. Viktor Józsa, Ron Hochsprung

  • This is the link to the Armstrong documentary. Well worth the 90 minutes to watch. If you don't have an account you can sign up with the link the description.

    Real EngineeringReal Engineering18 dager siden
    • The animation, pacing, content and info-graphics are just perfect. You don't excessively dwell on any one aspect or skip over arching engineering breakthroughs achieved by the program. You present this subject matter in such a clear and succinct way. Thank you!

      brentsrx7brentsrx75 dager siden
    • @SovietSheep jjjhhyy

      Brian BonnellBrian Bonnell9 dager siden
    • Peoples who have coronavirus vaccine will be death in one to two years from having vaccine . do not believe me wait still 2022/23 and see how much peoples died over time in to 2023 ,news tell more lie then trust believe me or not wake up slaves.

      Total drama Ella .Total drama Ella .10 dager siden
    • @Rocketplumber "NM propellant isn't just a monopropellant, it is a detonable high explosive." Pfft... Wheres your sense of adventure? :) I'm sure there must be a stabilizing agent that doesn't dilute the NM? I should probably clarify that when i mean mono-propellant, I'm speaking only in terms of the need for separate storage. .

      Lord SamichLord Samich11 dager siden
    • THIS is a Freaking JOKE! IF the plane DID go that Fast.. Calculate how much drop the pilot would have to to do Every Second to maintain altitude with a Sphere 24901 miles in circumference. The Results may surprise you. It's Impossible. Earth Cannot be a Sphere at the size claimed! -- Prove Me Wrong - YOU Cannot!

      Divergent DroidDivergent Droid11 dager siden
  • @3:55 "tru trattle"

    Archie MercerArchie Mercer3 timer siden
  • Millennium falcon ftw. (nice touch)

    Andy SeredyAndy Seredy4 timer siden
  • Sounds like the guy from “that chapter”

    I love The rainI love The rain5 timer siden
  • T

    Teejay CerreroTeejay Cerrero5 timer siden
  • My major professor at Stanford was directly involved. Is stories about the interactions between NASA and the contractors are too hilarious! It was a glorious time to be an engineer when science ruled over politics and greed. I'm sorry to say that this is no longer the case. It is rare to find a research project that is not totally driven by politics and greed which is to say that it is not concerned with achieving anything at all. Often teach types of projects flat out lie to the public. The lies surrounding the various types of crises are a great example. To meet the needs of some of my early research projects, we studied the variation of the climate. Of course we knew to basic concepts... Number one was that we are coming out of an ice age and that as 1 would expect the temperature was slowly increasing. The 2nd fact that everyone must understand is it the only thing constant about the climate is the fact that is constantly changing. To classify this normal change as a crisis is absurd. To blame it on man is just plain stupid. Sadly many of the scientist that I had formerly worked with gavyn to the vast amounts of money that were available for this ridiculous endeavour and shows to be complicit in the greatest charade in history.

    Rick FloresRick Flores13 timer siden
  • Finally a source of factual information that scientifically accurate. I love the plots and detailed engineering data. As retired research engineer Paul is involved in many of the activities that are discussed. This is the 1st channel to get it right. Congratulations and I wish you success!

    Rick FloresRick Flores13 timer siden
  • As a current NASA AFRC intern working on developing a VR flight sim of the x-15, its awesome to see this video become so popular, the engineering behind this definitely needs some more recognition.

    Casey MerrittCasey Merritt18 timer siden
  • Use Fahrenheit measurements in your data.

    D HD H20 timer siden
  • I'm sure you've received many thank yous for this video. As an engineer that had an X-15 three wheeler as a boy, you did an outstanding job presenting an understandable detailing of this amazing 60's development of our United States spacecraft endeavors.

    Stephen CrouseStephen Crouse20 timer siden
  • At what altitude did the X-15 travel mach 7.4?

    The Purple CrayonThe Purple Crayon20 timer siden
  • "Wit out true trottle"

    Mic SmithMic Smith21 time siden
  • "Yeah, right, let's cover our plane with PINK EXPLOSIVES. That should work just fiiiiine."

    What You HearWhat You HearDag siden
  • There is a small museum in Denville, New Jersey that contains a lot of information on the Reaction Motors team that developed the XLR-99 engine at the Picatinny Arsenal test facility.

    William KellyWilliam KellyDag siden
  • At 17:31 - XB-70 Valkyrie. Another truly awesome - and insane - engineering project. And one of the most beautiful aircraft in the world (neck and neck with SR-71 and the Supermarine Spitfire)

    Alan LewisAlan LewisDag siden
  • Awesome animation, especially X-15 overtaking the SR71

    Naveen DANaveen DADag siden
  • here we have a compilation of disciplines that were applied to a task that ordinary people would never have access to at that time. it is as if today someone were in the bowels of Lockheed's research center and exposing all their next technological innovations of the future.

    Renato MedeirosRenato MedeirosDag siden
  • Great info,well done and thank you for sharing.

    Clifton TibbitsClifton TibbitsDag siden
  • Although UFO isn't a plane it will always be fastest flying object

    Trïs TåñTrïs TåñDag siden
  • I can remember, at around age 8, my dad reading to me a 1964 Time-Life book on FLIGHT and showing me photos of the "latest" in aviation: the SR-71, XB-70 and the great X-15. That was when I learned the word "hypersonic" - a word that all my life has put goosebumps on my back. Thank you for giving us such a beautiful documentary about such an astounding feat of engineering and a story of such bravery among the pilots that flew her. What a beauty of an aircraft.

    Cam DixCam DixDag siden
  • Imagine being the guy presenting the idea of this for the first time "Okay listen hear me out...we attach a big ass rocket to a big plane...but we put a seat at the front! I swear it would totally work!"

    LiquidLiquidDag siden
  • Excellent images of the blades. Great post.

  • Great documentary, so awesome that I watched this repeatedly. Thanks

    Mursid W. HanantoMursid W. Hananto2 dager siden
  • The CG work on this video is absolutely insane, never seen CG this good from an edutainment youtuber. I was sure the video would end with "this great footage was from a new documentary on curiosity stream" but nope Hats off to you and your team!

    Nicolas ThorngageNicolas Thorngage2 dager siden
  • I keep telling my model rocketry club I need a 250KN motor for my new build. This isn't a plane,, it's a missile with a pilot

    1369buddy1369buddy2 dager siden
  • They were smart giving it a cool sounding name

    Liquid MikeLiquid Mike2 dager siden
  • Really? That plane is not even close to the fastest anymore. The X-43 is 20 years old now that is some pretty lazy research. And the X-43 is definitely not faster than the F/A-XX or the SR-72. The SR-72 has been is service since at least 2011 and it can go at least mach 20.

    Electrolysis ResearchElectrolysis Research2 dager siden
    • He said fastest powered MANNED flight. The X-43 isn't manmed, and neither is the SR-72. And we have very little information about the F/A-XX, but if i had to guess, it probably can't reach hypersonic speed.

      William LangdonWilliam LangdonDag siden
  • why not one episode on the tomahawk missiles???

    David LoboDavid Lobo3 dager siden
  • The opening of the x-15 leaving the oxcart in the dust was like a shrimp on a hook to a redfish.

    william killingsworthwilliam killingsworth3 dager siden
  • Outstanding production quality. I'm always amazed by how well you research, explain and present such complex engineering designs.

    Dion KllokoqiDion Kllokoqi3 dager siden
  • Make video about Tatra trucks chassis

    Filipeceq _Filipeceq _3 dager siden
  • Why can the USA built our own closed cycle rocket engine like the Russian did in the NK 33 closed cycle engine. Why can't NASA or SpaceX engineer a rocket engine to be a closed cycle rocket engine that able to use all of it fuel in the burn chamber what the Russians did before. If you don't believe me here is the proof there is a documentary so you can watch all about the Russians over-engineered something way better than our engineers here USA. Our engineers here in the USA before and now said can't be done. But, the Russians did it anyway they proved our engineers wrong. Our engineers have so much mud on their face and can't believe it. The Russians overcame the engineering problems and build a better rocket engine that fully burned all the fuel in the burn chamber. You can watch that documentary The Engines That Came In From The Cold - And how The NK-33/RD-180 Came To The USA at this link Why don't we have that attitude of YES WE CAN AND WE ARE GOING TO PROVE EVERYONE WRONG ATTITUDE anymore in the USA. Where did that attitude of great engineering minds went too in the USA. I think we just sent it to China or other countries to do it for us. I'm so tired of that attitude I want us to be that great nation we used to be. We need to be that great nation ones again to designed and engineered everything in the whole world here in the USA. We need to overcome and design better technology and stop hiding the new technology from the people and to giving the technology out to the world and we will be the first to do that one's again.

    Gage LeNeveGage LeNeve3 dager siden
    • Umm... RS-25 is closed cycle? And the SpaceX Raptor is full flow, which is pretty similar.

      William LangdonWilliam LangdonDag siden
  • the x1 was not the first plane to break the sound barrier. planes freefalling broke the sound barrier first.

    lordtartarsauce blordtartarsauce b3 dager siden
  • Interesting I'm curious Soviet side story in this space race era. How they overcome difficulties.

    Arief BudimanArief Budiman3 dager siden
  • 28:56

    IvanIvan3 dager siden
  • Woo 3 mil congrats

    Lil 002Lil 0023 dager siden
  • It is a Rocket.

    Glenford BurrellGlenford Burrell4 dager siden
  • There's a minor mistake in this video. You repeatedly refer to the Merlin's "Pre Burner" however the Merlin is, as you pointed out yourself, an open cycle engine and as such does not have a pre burner. Pre burner infers that the fuel is PRE burned, which is only the case in closed cycle engines where the Gas Generator exhaust is fed into the main combustion chamber. An open cycle engins, by it's very definition, cannot have a pre burner because all of the fuel is burned only once

    D e v i a lD e v i a l4 dager siden
  • Defund this ✊🏾 This money needs to be used on our education system !

    Dr. Romeo LeoDr. Romeo Leo4 dager siden
    • @William Langdon Shouldn’t be our priority!!! Healthcare for all and Education should be 😡

      Dr. Romeo LeoDr. Romeo LeoDag siden
    • The X-15 program helped us build more useful things later on, like communication and reconnaissance satellites.

      William LangdonWilliam LangdonDag siden
    • No

      United Republic of EggUnited Republic of Egg2 dager siden
  • How does the plane fall away like that from the mothership?

    NullReferenceExceptionNullReferenceException4 dager siden
  • Im just here to hear this guy say "but"

    Berend BatserBerend Batser4 dager siden
  • It's not a jet engine airplane it's a rocket plane, with just a very few minutes of flight time, then it runs out of rocket fuel & has to land, where as the SR71 can fly for almost two hours, then refuels from a tanker plane

    Larry CarmodyLarry Carmody4 dager siden
  • Awesome aircraft!

    Infinite-ComputeInfinite-Compute4 dager siden
  • Amazing Documentary. Great Job to all those who made the X-15 possible, you changed the World in many positive ways.

    Josh HobbsJosh Hobbs4 dager siden
  • One the best videos I've seen on NOtown. I've loved the X-15 since childhood after seeing the old movie about it.

    ShevaronShevaron4 dager siden
  • MACH 6.7 in the early 60's Wow. GREAT JOB ON THE SHOW 👍

    Peter ParkerPeter Parker4 dager siden
  • *Patiently waiting for the 50 hour documentary on the insane engineering of the Saturn V...*

    Austin TroyerAustin Troyer4 dager siden
  • I love the pacing of your videos - lot's of technical details I'll never understood, but explained in a way where I understand the general idea and ultimately learn a lot more about things I already love

    Dan LehmanDan Lehman4 dager siden
  • How and when did we link up to the sponsor

    NelsonNelson5 dager siden
  • am I the only one confused

    Alec MaisAlec Mais5 dager siden
  • Titanium bought from Russia, hahaha

    Pasha PasovskiPasha Pasovski5 dager siden
  • It's not stealth so it's useless, so says the NOtown engineer click!

    Pasha PasovskiPasha Pasovski5 dager siden
  • I should have asked a lot more questions in chem and physics classes.

    Ribonuke LeicacidRibonuke Leicacid5 dager siden
  • Not as remarkable of an aircraft as this X-15, but it would be cool to see a video on the CH-47 Chinook

    FractaliteFractalite5 dager siden
  • Reminds me of tv documentaries I would watch as a kid. Amazing and thank you!

    Zorro9129Zorro91295 dager siden
  • US and USSR back then: hey wanna race? When the tower says go.

    Gaming LeeGaming Lee5 dager siden
  • why is no one talking about the skills of the pilots and the amount of G force they might have endured

    No BullshitNo Bullshit5 dager siden
  • Lies

    Gary StarrGary Starr5 dager siden
  • pronounce "aluminum" (alu + minum) alu MINIUM! .... smh, I know it's a regional dialect but come on, you're literally adding letters that aren't there.

    john turtlejohn turtle5 dager siden
  • The word „plane“ ismt that fitting in my opinion... its basically a rocket!

    MXMLNMXMLN5 dager siden
  • its a manned rocket lol, its not a plane

    Alex WalkerAlex Walker5 dager siden
  • 15:23 You're CG ammonia looks like it's either mixed with water, under a lot of pressure, in a very dry room, or very well insulated, given the lack of frost on it.

    H. H.H. H.5 dager siden
  • H2 + O2 is not the best specific impulse possible with a chemical rocket. It's just the best possible that people really use. It's possible to get better numbers by using more exotic propellents involving fluorine, lithium, beryllium, or boron, or maybe even just oxygen the form of ozone. These propellents just all have terrible problems like extreme toxicity, explosion risks, too much complexity to contain or to make the reaction run smoothly and efficiently generate thrust, not to mention just plain expensiveness. There's a popular claim that the highest specific impulse rocket engine ever fired was a liquid (molten) lithium, liquid hydrogren, liquid fluorine tripropellant rocket, with a specific impulse of 542 s according to Wikipedia. There is also the point that you can get much better specific impulse than any chemical rocket with a jet engine, ion thruster, nuclear rocket, etc., but that's mostly beside the point.

    H. H.H. H.5 dager siden
  • Remember everyone the X15 is only the fastest plane ever made because none of the pilots of the SR71 want to push it further than it already has..

    Kunai CheesnepKunai Cheesnep6 dager siden
  • There's been a huge leap on this channel too... The animations in this video are excellent!

    Mark BowyerMark Bowyer6 dager siden
  • This one is too technical for me, rip

    Just FantasticJust Fantastic6 dager siden
  • this is a bit of a dum question, but have they ever considered arming this plane ? or was it just made to collect data and get NASA to the moon ?

    FoxtrotFoxtrot6 dager siden
  • The tech was taken from the UK. Fact!

    Jason BrownJason Brown6 dager siden
  • Excellent 4 stars out of 4 stars.

    jd lanejd lane6 dager siden
  • Bro this is not the fastest plane. The black bird was better

    Man On The MoonMan On The Moon6 dager siden
  • ❤️❤️❤️👍👍👍💪🏿💪🏿💪🏿💪💪💪👍

    Palden DolmaPalden Dolma6 dager siden
  • 3 million subscribers congrats bro

    Oscar CartyOscar Carty6 dager siden
  • >tha fastest plane ever made .... not so fast! says Soviet air defence

    Vertigo VainVertigo Vain6 dager siden
  • Stupid USA

    Mike MichaelMike Michael6 dager siden
  • China: write that down

    Eiichiro OdaEiichiro Oda6 dager siden
  • "Fastest Plane Ever Made" Us Gov Worker: "Yea like 20 years ago lol"

    just a commenter commentingjust a commenter commenting6 dager siden
  • sr-71: im speed x-15: lol bye

    razel blitzkriegrazel blitzkrieg6 dager siden
  • Too boring cheers

    Matt WoodyMatt Woody6 dager siden
    • @Ethan Rode only the first 5 I think

      Matt WoodyMatt Woody6 dager siden
    • why would you watch it then lol?

      Ethan RodeEthan Rode6 dager siden
  • Excellent! Made me think of a plastic model I had of this plane when I was a kid...

    MrElapidMrElapid6 dager siden
  • Almost as fast as the new Lockheed plane that hits mach 9

    alan connellyalan connelly6 dager siden
  • x15 engines go brr

    EshGamingEshGaming6 dager siden
  • My father, now having passed away, worked for Gen. Robert White when dad was stationed at 4 ATAF in Ramstein in the mid seventies. He thought highly of Gen. White, not just for his X-15 flights, but as a boss. Some stories involving the dissolution of the marriage and his marriage to Christa were related by my father and mother. Hearing those tales, they remind me that he was as human as you or I.

    John McCallJohn McCall6 dager siden
  • Make a video on quinjet is it possible?

    Mr. Clip ManMr. Clip Man6 dager siden
  • Euhm, isn't the first airplane to break the sound barrier the Hawker Tempest in a dive decades before the Bell X-1?

    ShamblerDKShamblerDK7 dager siden
  • Can’t wait for nuclear powered jets

    juboraj hossainjuboraj hossain7 dager siden
  • imagine using this as a missile -Ok, Bomber is dropping nu *bomber gets obliterated* -OH MY GOD IVAN GOT VAPORISED

    IMPERIAL EMPIRE GROUP Now with Jolteon?IMPERIAL EMPIRE GROUP Now with Jolteon?7 dager siden
  • the secret word is "regime"

    भक्तिभक्ति7 dager siden
  • why is the mark of the beast on every plane?

    Billy BlazeBilly Blaze7 dager siden

    Андрей ПушкарьАндрей Пушкарь7 dager siden
  • The bell x-1 wasent the first plane in Hypersonic

    Mr WolleybyMr Wolleyby7 dager siden
  • well its not really a plane then its just a rocket with a cockpit and seat.

    Willard FastoWillard Fasto7 dager siden
  • He sounds a little bit like Jacksepticeye at some parts of the video

    TimyboiTimyboi7 dager siden
  • "It's funky, but doesn't explode, so that's progress." Just like that one video about if the Earth turned to gold...someone there in the comments said that such thinking aligns with engineering.

    The Golden KnightThe Golden Knight7 dager siden
  • I thought X-43 is the fastest

    Harshit VermaHarshit Verma7 dager siden
  • Why doesn't America try to engineer a way to like not mutilate kids over gender dysphoria? Think you worthless mutants can work on that for a while?

    Alpharius OmegonAlpharius Omegon7 dager siden
  • America, land of this plane and child genital mutilation.

    Alpharius OmegonAlpharius Omegon7 dager siden
  • gether .thanks for giving.ครับ

    Aran SingkumAran Singkum7 dager siden
  • Fuck!. This is my second report on this type of aeroplane?

    Eddie SoloEddie Solo7 dager siden
  • bla bla

    Konrad BauerKonrad Bauer7 dager siden
  • I look forward to the time that the real tech is released to humanity. That time draws near.

    Kyron BoneKyron Bone7 dager siden