Space: Inside the Sky

Long before the first astronaut soared into orbit, test pilots had been tantalized by the dark vaulting dome of purple sky where space begins about 50 miles above the earth. As planes flew higher and higher, it often seemed just out of reach—an unknown vastness that dared venturesome flyers to penetrate it. Last week the nation's newest spaceman took the dare.

Air Force Major Robert White piloted a black needle-nosed X-15 rocket plane to an altitude of 59.6 miles—the highest man has ever flown in a winged aircraft, and a respectable second to...

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