This One IS Faster Than A Speeding Bullet | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 12.22.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 12.22.14 **
** Airborne 12.19.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 12.19.14 **
** Airborne 12.17.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 12.17.14 **

Fri, May 28, 2010

This One IS Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

X-51 Waverider Makes Historic Hypersonic Flight

An X-51A Waverider flight-test vehicle successfully made the longest supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight May 26 off the southern California Pacific coast. The more than 200 second burn by the X-51's air breathing scramjet engine accelerated the vehicle to Mach 5. The previous longest scramjet burn in a flight test was 12 seconds in a NASA X-43.

Air Force officials called the test, the first of four planned, an unqualified success. The flight is considered the first use of a practical hydrocarbon fueled scramjet in flight.

"We ... have accomplished most of our test points on the X-51A's very first hypersonic mission," said Charlie Brink, a X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. "We equate this leap in engine technology as equivalent to the post-World War II jump from propeller-driven aircraft to jet engines."

The X-51 launched at about 1000 PDT from Edwards AFB, carried under the left wing of an Air Force Flight Test Center B-52 Stratofortress. Then, flying at 50,000 feet over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range, it was released. Four seconds later an Army Tactical Missile solid rocket booster accelerated the X-51 to about Mach 4.8 mach before it and a connecting interstage were jettisoned.  The launch and separation were normal, Mr. Brink said.

Four X-51A cruisers have been built for the Air Force and the (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) by industry partners Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing. Air Force officials intend to fly the three remaining X-51A flight test vehicles this fall, Mr. Brink said. Air Force officials currently plan to fly each on virtually identical flight profiles, building knowledge from each successive flight.

Hypersonic flight, normally defined as beginning at Mach 5, five times speed of sound, presents unique technical challenges with heat and pressure, which make conventional turbine engines impractical. Program officials said producing thrust with a scramjet has been compared to lighting a match in a hurricane and keeping it burning.

"This first flight was the culmination of a six-year effort by a small, but very talented AFRL, DARPA and industry development team," Mr. Brink said. "Now we will go back and really scrutinize our data. No test is perfect, and I'm sure we will find anomalies that we will need to address before the next flight. But anyone will tell you that we learn just as much, if not more, when we encounter a glitch."

Mr. Brink noted while development of the X-51A's engine and the test program are complex, controlling costs has been a key objective. The team has incorporated or adapted existing proven technologies and elected from the outset not to build recovery systems in the flight test vehicles, in an effort to control costs and focus funding on the vehicle's fuel-cooled scramjet engine, which was developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

Mr. Brink said he believes the X-51A program will provide knowledge required to develop the game changing technologies needed for future access to space and hypersonic weapon applications.

FMI: www.af.mil

Advertisement

More News

Virgin America First To Offer Gogo's ATG-4 Inflight WiFi Service Fleetwide

New ATG-4 WiFi Brings Increased Bandwidth And Faster Browsing Speeds For Flyers At 35,000 Feet Virgin America has rolled out Gogo's faster ATG-4 WiFi service fleetwide, with the co>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (12.22.14)

"It was a long time goal for both sisters to fly together and that dream recently came true. The women recently operated flight 1480 from FLL to DCA making them the first ever sist>[...]

Airborne 12.19.14: Falcon 8X Unveiled, Sportys 172LITE, Bizarre CA AvGas Lawsuit

Also: ANN/Airborne's Crystal Ball, Lear70/75 Mexico Cert, Carnegie Mellon's Lunar Rover, Dragon Delays Dassault Aviation rolled back the curtains earlier this week on the ultra-lon>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (12.21.14)

"We have received extremely positive feedback from our Amadeus A-CDM Portal stakeholders. It is easy to use and enables them to make better decisions that contribute to smoother an>[...]

London Gatwick Airport Increases Runway Capacity To 55 Flights Per Hour

Estimates An Additional 2 Million Passengers On A Single Runway Assisted By Amadeus A-CDM Portal London Gatwick Airport (LGW) is the first to implement a cloud-based Airport-Collab>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC