The North American X-15 rocket-powered aircraft/spaceplane was part of the X-series of experimental aircraft, initiated with the Bell X-1, that were made for the USAF, NASA, and the USN. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the early 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. As of 2011[update], it holds the official world record for the fastest speed ever reached by a manned rocket powered aircraft.
During the X-15 program, 13 of the flights (by eight pilots) met the USAF spaceflight criteria by exceeding the altitude of 50 miles (80.5 km, 264,000 ft), thus qualifying the pilots for astronaut status. The USAF pilots qualified for USAF astronaut wings, while the civilian pilots were later awarded NASA astronaut wings.
Of all the X-15 missions, two flights (by the same pilot) qualified as space flights per the international (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) definition of a spaceflight by exceeding 100 kilometres (62.1 mi, 328,084 ft) in altitude.