JSM Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Joe Engle's X-15 Flight Into Space

Today, 50 years ago, at Edwards Air Force Base, Joe Engle flew X-15 No. 3 to 53 miles (280,600ft) and became the third Air Force winged astronaut (and the youngest pilot to receive astronaut wings). And...this dollar bill, which is a part of the Jefferson Space Museum's Dollar Gallery, was, amazingly, along for the ride! Read all about it here.

The X-15, built by North American Aviation, was a rocket-powered, winged aircraft operated jointly by the USAF and NASA. The X-15 established speed and altitude records in the 1960's -- and still holds the official world's speed record for a manned, powered aircraft at 4,520 m.p.h. Of 199 overall flights with three X-15 aircraft, 13 exceeded 50 miles in altitude -- the USAF definition of the edge of space in the 1960's -- and two of the 13 reached 60 miles, the standard international definition of the edge of space.

On this particular flight, USAF Captain Joe Engle reached a top speed of 3,431 m.p.h. Congratulations, Joe!

The flown dollar bill in our collection is the only known, pilot certified flown dollar bill to appear on the market from the X-15 program, and certainly the only one from one of the thirteen X-15 USAF designated space flights.

 

 Dollar bill flown with Joe Engle on his historic X-15 USAF designated space flight in 1965.

Dollar bill flown with Joe Engle on his historic X-15 USAF designated space flight in 1965.