X-15 Diary: The Story of America’s First Space Ship


Richard Tregaskis


Built of titanium and a chrome-nickel alloy known as Inconel X, the X-15 was the fastest plane ever built, streaking through the lower reaches of outer space even before the first space capsules reached orbit. First tested in 1959, the X-15 proved to be a crucial testing ground for the astronauts and hardware in the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and even the Space Shuttle programs.
The dramatic tale of the golden age of this experimental plane comes vividly to life through the writing of the celebrated reporter Richard Tregaskis, who spent time with the pilots, engineers, and other key personnel involved in the project. We learn of the years of planning and design, devastating onboard explosions, exhilarating triumphs, and, above all, the personal and professional sacrifices that paved the way for the enduring legacy of the blisteringly fast X-15 rocket plane.