|A. Scott Crossfield||Robert M. White||Forrest S. Petersen|
|Robert A. Rushworth||Joe H. Engle||William H. Dana|
|Milton O. Thompson||William J. Knight||Paul F. Bikle|
Pilots' panel participants (l. to r.):|
A. Scott Crossfield, Robert M. White, Forrest S. Petersen,
Robert A. Rushworth, Paul F. Bikle, Joe H. Engle,
Milton O.Ihompson, William J. Knight, and William H. Dana.
I am depressed, dejected, despondent, downcast and disheartened to miss the fun of the X-15 gathering this week. As frequently is the case, NASA Headquarters had a different idea for the working folks and shanghaied me off to another assignment. All of us have warm memories of the X- 15 project. When we're having trouble keeping airplanes flying front forward at Mach numbers around 2, the idea of building a Mach 7, 1400 degree aircraft seemed audacious. It was! A big research project by the standards of the time, it had the charm of everybody knowing everybody else involved-a far cry from Apollo.
During the World's Fair in Seattle in 1962, a special program honored a handful of folks who exceeded 100,000 ft in altitude (some of us from the X-15 project were there of course). We were properly humbled when we were outnumbered by the balloonists.
Like any effort at the frontiers of knowledge, the X-15 collected both triumphs and tragedies, but few programs come to mind that enjoyed success and esteem over such a long period of time.
All of us take a great deal of pride in our respective roles in the effort. Good luck to all of you. I miss being there, but hope we will run into each other at Smith's Ranch or downtown Beatty.
Front row (l. to r.): |
William J. (Pete) Knight, Paul F. Bikle (former Center Director),
Milton O. Thompson, and Forrest S. Petersen.
Rear (l. to r.): A. Scott Crossfield, William H. Dana,
Joe H. Engle, Robert M. White, and Robert A. Rushworth.