The mostly-silent clips include footage of Armstrong himself, demonstrating a lunar lander trainer for reporters before his 1969 moon mission. You can watch test pilot Scott Crossfield descend from the bomb bay of a B-29 into the Douglas D-558 rocket plane slung underneath, shortly before it’s dropped from the mother ship. And there several clips of the X-15 space plane, in which several Air Force pilots earned astronaut wings for flights that topped 350,000 feet.
There were duds, too, like the X-3, a needle-nosed, stubby-winged craft nicknamed the Stiletto, which never lived up to its high-speed billing; and the XB-70 Valkyrie, a Mach 3 bomber design from the early 1960s. When the Pentagon passed on the Valkyrie, the two prototypes became test models for a future supersonic airliner.