facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Air Force's experimental scramjet aircraft hits Mach 5.1 -- 3,880 mph

May 3, 2013 at 6:37 PM   |   Comments

OXNARD, Calif., May 3 (UPI) -- The final flight of the X-51A Waverider test program saw the scramjet aircraft reach Mach 5.1 over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Air Force said Friday.

The unmanned hypersonic researcher craft traveled more than 230 nautical miles in just over 6 minutes Wednesday over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range off California before crashing into the ocean as intended, an Air Force release said.

The X-51A took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California under the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress before being released at about 50,000 feet.

A solid rocket booster took the X-51A to about Mach 4.8 at which point the craft's scramjet engine ignited and accelerated it to Mach 5.1 -- about 3,880 miles per hour -- at 60,000 feet.

Scramjet stands for supersonic combustion ram jet, which has no moving parts; fuel is mixed with air rushing into the combustion chamber at supersonic speeds and then ignited.

"It was a full mission success," Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory, said in a statement. "I believe all we have learned from the X-51A Waverider will serve as the bedrock for future hypersonics research and ultimately the practical application of hypersonic flight."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Wisconsin shuts down three wolf hunting zones, two remain open Wisconsin shuts down three wolf hunting zones, two remain open
2
Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk Harvard scientist startled by giant bird-eating spider on rainforest walk
3
Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data Earth's magnetic field may soon flip, according to new data
4
Soda drinkers may be slowly killing themselves Soda drinkers may be slowly killing themselves
5
Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter Peaking Orionid meteor shower to be obscured by nor'easter
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback