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  • "Black Betsy": The 6000C-4 rocket engine, 1945-1989, Part 2

    Paper ID



    • Frank H. Winter


    National Air and Space Museum Smithsonian Institution






    Part 1 of this paper introduced the 6000C-4 rocket engine, popularly called "Black Betsy," as the powerplant which propelled the Bell X-l aircraft that achieved the world's first supersonic manned flight in 1947. The background and development of this engine, which began in 1945 by Reaction Motors Incorporated (RMI) was related. The use of the 6000C-4 (signifying 6000 lbs or 2,270 kg of thrust from four combustion chambers) in the three Bell X-l aircraft and advanced X-ls (X-1A, X-1B, X-1D, and X-1E) were also detailed. The last of these planes flew up to 1958. This paper continues recounting the remarkably successful and long career of the engine and examines its use in the Douglas D—558-2 Skyrocket, XF-91, MX-774 test missile, in various miscellaneous projects, as interim powerplants for the X-15, landing maneuvering rockets in several Lifting Bodies (HL-10, MS-F3, X-24A, and X-24B), and up to the current Sonic Wind rocket-propelled supersonic ice-sled.