By Kenneth W. Iliff, Curtis L. Peebles

Provides the memoirs of Dr. Kenneth W. Iliff, the retired leader Scientist of NASA Dryden Flight study middle. He labored at NASA from 1962-2002.

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Extra resources for From Runway to Orbit: Reflections of a NASA Engineer

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So I decided to volunteer for that in my spare time. Dale took the lead in constructing the vehicle and preparing a flight proposal to find out how viable a lifting-body vehicle might be for reentry. Bertha Ryan. another engineer. was spending a lot of time working on the vehicle. She was an experienced sailplane pilot and had experience in flying, along with Dale, who was also a sailplane enthusiast. Bertha wanted to work with the real data in the traditional fashion of those days, doing calculations and plotting data by hand to understand it, then presenting the information for other people to use.

I looked around and saw several important areas where nobody was yet working. One area involved the wind-tunnel data. We had a lot of it, but it was really for a wide variety of vehicles. Someone needed to figure out which data best represented the M2-F1 that we were in the process of building. So I decided to volunteer for that in my spare time. Dale took the lead in constructing the vehicle and preparing a flight proposal to find out how viable a lifting-body vehicle might be for reentry. Bertha Ryan.

X-15 Flights - The View From the Control Room The following day we would make the X-15 flight itself. Which personnel were in the control room and what they did varied, depending on what maneuvers were being flown, which airplane was flying, who were making the requests, who was traveling or on vacation, and who would be monitoring various strip Fig. 6. Strip chart recorders that were used to monitor X-15 flights. This photo appears to show data from Scott Crossfield’s November 5,1959 crash on flight 2-3-9, caused by an engine fire.

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From Runway to Orbit: Reflections of a NASA Engineer by Kenneth W. Iliff, Curtis L. Peebles


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