National Geographic : 1962 Sep
HS EKTACHROMESFOR NASA Sensor on chest monitors Major White's heart beat. Under stress in flight his glands pump ad renalin, speeding the heart briefly to 150 beats a minute, not a rarity among X-15 pilots. NASA test pilot, author Joseph A. Walker, strides toward the X-15 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. A companion carries an air condi tioner plugged into the flyer's suit. Mother plane, a B-52, cradles the X-15 under its right wing, balanc ing the experimental plane's 17 tons with tanks of fuel in the left wing. Walker is zipped into his inner flight suit, which will air condition him and protect against g-forces and decompression. Silver outer garment (opposite, above) will cover the orange suit. Rocket plane's cockpit resembles a jet fighter's. Control stick stands at center beneath the ball-like atti tude indicator, which gives roll, pitch, and yaw readings.