X-51A Test Flight Today - Another test flight of the X-51A hypersonic waverider is planned for today. The X-51 WaveRider is an experimental supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) aircraft capable of exceeding Mach 6 (six times the speed of sound). At that speed, it could fly from New York to London in just about 1 hour.
[…] it’s being prepared at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert tonight for a departure to the Pacific Ocean on the wing of a B52 Bomber. When testing begins it will be dropped and the engines will fire, the test will last a mere 300 seconds.
During the test the X51-A will climb to an altitude of 70,000 feet, cut its engines and crash into the Pacific Ocean and break up.There are no plans to recover the craft.
At one point, the X-51A was cast as a stepping stone for the development of the Blackswift aerospace plane, which looked like somewhat of a cross between a Venturestar SSTO launch vehicle and an F22 fighter plane. However, the program was canceled in 2009 while the X-51 survived the financial axe.
Why are aerospace agencies so poor at recycling. Shouldn’t they be setting the bar?