...it's Cool Fifties Technology Day at VFTP.
In 1959, the USAF and the Big Science guys at North American and Reaction Motors finally answered the question burning in every ten-year-old's mind "What would happen if you dropped a bigass rocket with a guy inside it from a B-52 and lit the fuse?" The answer was "X-15". In the X-15, if you wanted astronaut wings and didn't want to mess with all that Cape Canaveral rigamarole, all you had to do was yank back on the stick.
At the other end of the scale, in 1960 two guys climbed into a six-and-a-half foot metal sphere and took four hours and forty-eight minutes to travel not quite seven miles. But they traveled those almost-seven miles straight down, to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, in the bathyscaphe Trieste. I don't know about you, but sitting in a little steel ball for eight hours knowing that external pressures were rising as high as one Volkswagen per postage stamp and the nearest air was seven miles away would give me a terminal case of screaming claustrophobia. Not these guys, though; they just sat around, calm as test pilots, munching chocolate bars and looking at weird fish.