Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mud Lake DZ


Air-launched rocket drop zone known to have been used for 34 launches from 1961 to 1967, reaching up to 75 kilometers altitude.

Longitude: -117.0740 deg.
Latitude: 37.9360 deg.

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Associated Launch Sites

Mud Lake DZ Chronology


1961 May 25 - . 20:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-16-31.
  • X-15A Mach 5, SAS, Aero test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5321 kph. Maximum Altitude - 32850 m..

1961 June 23 - . 22:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-17-33.
  • X-15A Mach 5, Aerodynamics, Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5797 kph. Maximum Altitude - 32830 m. Lost cabin pressure..

1961 September 12 - . 22:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-18-34.
  • X-15A Mach 5, Aerodynamics, Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 34 km (21 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5821 kph. Maximum Altitude - 34840 m. Smoke in cockpit due to scorching paint..

1961 October 11 - . 20:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-20-36. FAILURE: Left windshield cracks..
  • X-15A Alt, Aero, Low q test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 66 km (41 mi). Summary: Outer panel of left windshield cracked. Maximum Speed - 5868 kph. Maximum Altitude - 66150 m..

1961 October 17 - . 18:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-24-40.
  • X-15A Mach 5, Aero, Stab test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 33 km (20 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6275 kph. Maximum Altitude - 33100 m..

1961 November 9 - . 17:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-21-37. FAILURE: Right windshield cracks..
  • X-15A Mach 6, Aero, Stab test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 31 km (19 mi). Summary: Design speed achieved. Outer right windshield shattered. Maximum Speed - 6586 kph. Maximum Altitude - 30950 m..

1962 January 10 - . 20:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-25-44. FAILURE: Emergency landing at Mud Lake..
  • X-15A High alpha, Aero test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 13 km (8 mi). Summary: Emergency landing on Mud Lake after engine failed to light. Maximum Speed - 1038 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13,640 m..

1962 January 17 - . 20:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-2-3.
  • X-15A MH-96. Mach 5 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6058 kph. Maximum Altitude - 40690 m..

1962 April 19 - . 18:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-26-46.
  • X-15A ASAS, alpha 20, M=5 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 46 km (28 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6220 kph. Maximum Altitude - 46940 m..

1962 April 20 - . 19:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-4-8.
  • X-15A MH-96, M=5 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 63 km (39 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6097 kph. Maximum Altitude - 63250 m..

1962 April 30 - . 18:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-27-48.
  • X-15A Alt, Low q, Aero test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 75 km (46 mi). Summary: Design altitude flight. Maximum Speed - 5614 kph. Maximum Altitude - 75190 m..

1962 June 27 - . 21:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-30-51.
  • X-15A High alpha, Mach 6 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 37 km (22 mi). Summary: Unofficial world speed record. Maximum Speed - 6603 kph. Maximum Altitude - 37700 m..

1962 July 16 - . 22:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-31-52. FAILURE: Power trips..
  • X-15A Notch/ASAS/Aero drag test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5911 kph. Maximum Altitude - 32670 m..

1962 July 26 - . 19:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-32-53.
  • X-15A Aero stab. and drag test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6418 kph. Maximum Altitude - 30150 m. Roller coaster descent to simulate emergency reentry..

1962 August 2 - . 17:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-8-16.
  • X-15A MH-96 fixed gain test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 44 km (27 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5532 kph. Maximum Altitude - 44040 m..

1962 October 23 - . 19:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-11-20.
  • X-15A VO Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 41 km (25 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6056 kph. Maximum Altitude - 41000 m..

1962 November 9 - . 18:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-31-52. FAILURE: Engine failure. Crash landing on Mud Lake..
  • X-15A VO Stab, Bound.Layer test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 16 km (9 mi). Summary: Engine only produced 35% power. Emergency landing at Mud Lake. Aircraft seriously damaged when gear failed. McKay injured. Maximum Speed - 1640 kph. Maximum Altitude - 16450 m..

1962 December 14 - . 18:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-12-22.
  • X-15A VO Stab, UVP Test/Ultraviolet Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 43 km (26 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6021 kph. Maximum Altitude - 43100 m..

1962 December 20 - . 19:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-13-23.
  • X-15A VO Stab, MH-96 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 48 km (29 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6103 kph. Maximum Altitude - 48900 m..

1963 May 2 - . 17:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-16-26.
  • X-15A APU,UVP,IR,flow Test/Ultraviolet Astronomy/Technolgy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 63 km (39 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5612 kph. Maximum Altitude - 63820 m. Carried earth background radiation instrument in support of Midas reconnsat development..

1963 July 18 - . 18:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-38-61.
  • X-15A VO Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 31 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6315 kph. Maximum Altitude - 31940 m..

1964 January 8 - . 20:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-43-69. FAILURE: Inertial instruments failure..
  • X-15A SAS Off Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 42 km (26 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5818 kph. Maximum Altitude - 42642 m..

1964 September 29 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-34-57. FAILURE: Nose gear scoop door causes handling difficulties..
  • X-15A-2 Stab.,Star tracker test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 29 km (18 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5699 kph. Maximum Altitude - 29809 m..

1965 February 17 - . 18:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-36-63. FAILURE: Landing skid extends at Mach 4.3..
  • X-15A-2 Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 29 km (18 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5649 kph. Maximum Altitude - 28986 m. Right main landing gear extended at Mach 4.1; normal landing..

1965 May 18 - . 17:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-38-66.
  • X-15A-2 Stab, landing, ST test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 31 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5697 kph. Maximum Altitude - 31120 m..

1965 May 25 - . 18:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-54-88.
  • X-15A IFDS/MIT/RAS modification technology / test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 54 km (33 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5100 kph. Maximum Altitude - 54803 m..

1966 May 18 - . 18:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-44-79.
  • X-15A-2 V-On Stab test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5936 kph. Maximum Altitude - 30170 m..

1966 July 1 - . 19:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-45-81. FAILURE: Erroneous failure indication results in emergency landing at Mud Lake..
  • X-15A-2 External Tank test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 13 km (8 mi). Summary: First flight with fueled external tanks. Engine shutdown at 34.6 seconds due to fuel flow anomalies. Maximum Speed - 1646 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13720 m..

1966 July 12 - . 19:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-64-107.
  • X-15A Checkout, Systems test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 39 km (24 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5876 kph. Maximum Altitude - 39620 m..

1966 August 4 - . 17:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-53-79.
  • X-15A Heat Tran,BLN,OBE Test/Technology mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6376 kph. Maximum Altitude - 40450 m..

1966 August 30 - . 17:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-49-86. FAILURE: SAS system drops out repeatedly, hydrogen peroxide fire in ventral fin..
  • X-15A-2 V-On,Maurer,TPS Test/Technology/Ultraviolet Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 31 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5701 kph. Maximum Altitude - 30540 m..

1966 November 18 - . 21:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-50-89.
  • X-15A-2 ET/TPS/Maurer/Mach 6 Test/Ultraviolet Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi). Summary: X-15 Flight 175 (ET/TPS/Maurer/Mach 6).

1967 March 22 - . 17:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-70-119. FAILURE: Cockpit pressure problems..
  • X-15A Stab./Loads/ASAS test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6150 kph. Maximum Altitude - 40570 m. Inertial system failed after peak altitude; cabin pressurization lost during descent..

1967 October 3 - . 21:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-53-97. FAILURE: Heat flow from dummy ramjet nearly burns tail off..
  • X-15A-2 TPS/Ramjet/Mach 6.7 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 31 km (19 mi). Summary: Unofficial world speed record (full ablative coating, dummy ramjet, mechanical eyelid). Maximum Speed - 7273 kph. Maximum Altitude - 31120 m..

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