History: The NB-52A was one of two B-52's modified for NASA to launch its X-15 rocketplane. Known as 'Balls 3' or 'The High and Mighty One,' it was retired in 1969, but the other NB-52, known as 'Balls 8' went on to launch various experimental aircraft until 2004. To accomodate the X-15, both planes had a pylon installed underneath the right wing, with part of the trailing edge behind it cut out to fit the X-15's empennage. The NB-52 also had fuel and oxidizer tanks installed to fuel the X-15 before launch, 'The High and Mighty One' would go on to launch 93 of the 199 flights of the X-15.
The X-15 was an experimental rocket powered aircraft that broke numerous speed and altitude records. Before igniting its engine/s, a single XLR-99 or two XLR-11's, it would be carried to an altitude of 45,000 feet by an NB-52 mothership. Though it was technically an aircraft, some flights reached so high that conventional flight surfaces became innefective. Thus, reaction control system (RCS) thrusters were installed. To maintain horizontal stability at hypersonic speeds, a wedge shaped tail was implemented. It made 199 flights between 1959 and '68. Of its 12 pilots, 8 received astronaut wings for passing 50 miles in altitude.
Part Count: 1867
Dimensions: (Length x Width x Height) 64.6 cm x 70.1 cm x 19 cm
Disclaimer: This purchase is for the building instructions in a pdf format and an xml file containing the list of parts which can then be uploaded to Bricklink.