Bell  X-1B

The X-1B was one of a series of rocket-powered experimental research airplanes designed for investigation of various problems associated with supersonic flight.   Specifically, the mission of the X-1B was flight research pertaining to aerodynamic heating and pilot reaction control systems.    It made its first powered flight on Oct. 8, 1954. 

On all test missions, the X-1B was carried to launching altitude, normally 25,000-35,000 feet, nestled under a “mother” airplane.   It was then released in mid-air and rocket power was applied and, under full throttle, lasted less than five minutes.   After all fuel (an alcohol-water mixture) and liquid oxygen had been consumed, the pilot glided the airplane to earth for a landing.   (NMUSAF)


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