The X-15 can trace its origins back to June 24, 1952, when a NACA committee resolved that the NACA should expand its research aircraft program in order to explore flight characteristics of atmospheric and exo-atmospheric designs capable of 4 to 10 Mach speeds and 12 to 50 mile altitudes. In December 1955 Nort American received contract from the Air Force calling for the design, construction and development of three X-15 aircrafts. Development problems with the X-15's XLR99 rocket engine had led to a decision to complete initial powered flights with 2 XLR11 rocket engines. On March 28, 1960, the first flight-rated XLR99 was delivered to the Edwards AFB and there prepared for installation in the third X-15, 56-6672. Unfortunatelly, on June 8, during the course of one of the static firings, a malfunction caused a catastrophic explosion. Scott Crossfield, who was in the cockpit at the time was not seriously injured. On October 29, 1961, the third X-15, almost completely rebuild was returned to the NASA. The third aircraft has completed its first flight with Neil Armstrong at the controls, on December 20, 1961. On July 17, 1962, White set official world altitude record (314,750 ft). This became the first flight in which astronauts wings were awarded to an X-15 pilot. The next few high altitude flights were made by Joe Walker. On August 22, 1963, Joe Walker was again launched aboard X-15-3, reaching an altitude of 354,200 ft. The 11 minute 8 seconds long flight would mark the all-time height record for X-15. While returning from an altitude flight on November 15, 1967, Major Mike Adams was involved in a hypersonic spin and pitch oscillations which destroyed the number 3 aircraft.

X-15-3 56-6672
official world altitude record - July 17, 1962 - 314 750 ft
unofficial world altitude record - August 22, 1963 - 354 200 ft

Conversion set for Special Hobby's 1/48 X-15 A-2 kit (#SH48 008) is including 60 parts (9 resin, 51 decals).

Detail of exhaust nozzle