Posted by: Chuck | May 12, 2013

X-17 Research Rocket: “The X-17 Story” 1958 US Air Force, Lockheed Solid Fueled Test Missile

Published on May 5, 2013

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“A 1958 Air Force film that documents an obscure but very important missile that was used to test the effects of hypersonic flight on early reentry vehicles. The film is introduced by Major General Bernard Schriever, who was in charge of all early Air Force missile development. Early flight tests of the X-17 took place at Holloman AFB. A total of fifty-one X-17 were later launched from Pad 3 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.”

An early test launch of an Atlas A missile (2 rocket engines, no sustainer) is shown at the end of the film.

United States Air Force film SFP635

Public domain film from the USAF, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).……

The Lockheed X-17 was a three stage solid-fuel research rocket to test the effects of high mach atmospheric reentry. The first stage of the X-17 carried the rocket to a height of 17 miles (27 km) before burning out. The rocket would then coast on momentum to about 100 miles (160 km) before nosing down for reentry. The second stage engine would then fire before jettisoning and igniting the third and final stage. On April 24, 1957, an X-17 reached a speed of 9,000 miles per hour (14,000 km/h) at Patrick AFB. Ultimately the X-17 would be travelling towards earth at up to Mach 14.5.

The X-17 was also used as the booster for the Operation Argus series of three high-altitude nuclear tests conducted in the South Atlantic in 1958……



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