Lot #2173
X-15 Rocket Plane RCS Nose Nozzle

RCS thruster nozzle from the nose of an X-15

This lot has closed

Estimate: $800+


RCS thruster nozzle from the nose of an X-15

Thruster nozzle from the Reaction Control System (RCS) of a North American X-15 rocket-powered plane, which was located in the nose of the aircraft: the hydrogen peroxide thrust rockets on the nose provided pitch and yaw control, while those on the wings provided roll control. A system based on this innovative design would be used decades later on the Space Shuttle. The piece measures 5″ tall with a 2″ x 2″ base, and a diameter of 2″ across the mounting flange. A short chamber pressure tap ends from the side, at the top of the thrust chamber. In very good to fine condition.

Originates from the collection of X-15 engineer Henry E. Louie, and accompanied by an original 9.5 x 7.5 photo of the X-15 team celebrating the aircraft's 199th flight (affixed to a 14 x 11 mount), and a provenance statement from his son, in part: "He worked on the X-15 project towards the end of the program, pictured with the engineering team after the X-15's last flight, number 199. His specialty was fluid dynamics which tended towards fuel systems in air and spacecraft. He worked on many defense related projects in the LA area…The last project he worked on was the Northrop YF-23. Being a life-long gear head and motorcycle nut, he would visit the aircraft mechanics to chat with them on the systems he was working on, which is how he came to possess the nose nozzle. The part had been removed from the X-15, inspected and was no longer needed, so it was given to him as a souvenir by one of the mechanics." Sale of this item is limited to US Citizens and Organizations (only) to comply with US technology transfer restrictions.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Science & Technology and Space Exploration
  • Dates: #588 - Ended July 16, 2020