By Ben Guenther

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The seat was optimized for safe ejection at speeds as slow as 80 knots or as high as Mach 4. Unlike contemporary ejection seats, this unit had a pronounced robust image that has never been duplicated. A large number of sled tests were undertaken to verify the X-15 ejection seat's capabilities and performance envelope. As can be seen, during 1957 a mock-up X-15 forward nose section was built which provided a full-scale aerodynamic environment to test both canopy separation and ejection seat effectivity.

Fiii ~~ ~ ~ ~. " ... \~ ~ s~ , (ij' I ~ "" ~ The first flight of the X-15A-2 with its jettisonable propellant tanks attached took place on November 3, 1965. For the flight, the tanks were left empty; they were successfully jettisoned as the X-15A-2 accelerated through Mach 2. When applied, the Martin Marietta-developed MA-25S ablative coating covered the entire X-15A-2, including the windscreen and canopy. The material was not reusable and had to be removed and replaced before another mission could be flown.

For ejection to be accomplished without injury, it was necessary for an automatic system to retract the pilot's appendages to provide the necessary clearances. 43 The left side console of the X-15A-2 served as the mounting point for the throttle quadrant, the radio communication system, the upper and lower air brake actuation handle, the internal propellant tanks jettison handle, and the external propellant tanks jettison handle. a from· the rectanaular hole above the left console. ~ ~ The left side console of X-IS, 56·6670, illustrating its similarity to the same panel in the X-15A-2.

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