Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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Joe Walker is seen here after a flight in front of the X-15 #2 (56-6671) rocket-powered research aircraft. Joseph A. Walker was a Chief Research Pilot at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center during the mid-1960s. He joined NACA in March 1945, and served as project pilot at the Edwards flight research facility on such pioneering research projects as the D-558-1, D-558-2, X-1, X-3, X-4, X-5, and the X-15. He also flew programs involving the F-100, F-101, F-102, F-104, and the B-47. Walker made the first NASA X-15 flight on March 25, 1960. He flew the research aircraft 24 times and achieved its highest altitude. He attained a speed of 4,104 mph (Mach 5.92) during a flight on June 27, 1962, and reached an altitude of 354,200 feet (67.08 miles) on August 22, 1963 (his last X-15 flight). This was one of three flights by Walker that achieved altitudes over 50 miles. Walker was killed on June 8, 1966, when his F-104 collided with the XB-70.