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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!