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
October 8, 1954.
On all test missions, the X-1B was
carried to launching altitude, normally 25,000 to 35,000 feet, nestled
under a "mother" airplane. It was then released in mid-air and rocket
power was applied which, 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.
Span: 28 ft. 0 in.
Length: 35 ft. 7 in.
Height: 10 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 16,590 lbs. loaded
Engine: Reaction Motors XLR-11-RM-6 four-chamber rocket engine of
6,000 lbs. thrust.
Serial number: 48-1385
Maximum speed: 1,650 mph.
Landing Speed: 170 mph.
Maximum Altitude: 90,000 ft.