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The USA learned a hard lesson with the NASP, believes Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Centre,Virginia, and now has a spread-risk approach with various "pathfinder" and "trailblazer" demonstrators costing less than $100 million each.
The Global Reach would be able to reach anywhere in the world in minutes, for "reconnaissance-strike and 2.5g turn" and when the NASP was cancelled it "-became the vision-vehicle for the Hyper-X", says Orton. The Hyper-X will be launched for the first time in 1999 by an Orbital Sciences Pegasus booster from a Boeing B-52. Three vehicles are being built for this programme, optimised for Mach 5, 7 and 10, says Orton. Another vehicle, the Phantom-X, is complete, but "hasn't flown yet".
Orton says that Boeing is working on a "new Hyper-X", as part of NASA's Future-X SSTO effort, which will probably have "-a combined cycle engine". He believes that Global Reach will be operational by 2020 with an SSTO Space Shuttle replacement by 2025.
Learning from past programs
Japanese engineers began their hypersonic efforts by reviewing all open records, most likely including the unclassified records of a NASA high-speed engine developed between 1968 and 1975. After that, the U.S. government declared that engine classified, which meant Japanese officials did not have the benefit of reviewing the lessons NASA learned through subsequent tests.
Japan learned little from the U.S. National Aerospace Plane (NASP) program, which was canceled in the 1990s. Most of the NASP findings remain classified. “We cannot tell you the difference [between our spaceplane concept and NASP], because we do not have data on the NASP itself,” Mitani says.
The X-51 program is geared toward improving access to space, but ATK officials have been lobbying the Air Force, including Lewis, to test their engine for a spin-off application: a hypersonic cruise missile capable of destroying targets anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes.
"We call it the high-speed strike weapon," said Charlie Precourt, vice president of strategy and business development for ATK's Launch Systems Group. Precourt said a hypersonic missile would be simpler to build than a space vehicle. "We think it would make sense to evolve a hypersonic engine cruiser to that kind of system first, and go from there," he said.
Brink said ATK's contract has not changed the overall direction of the X-51 program as an access-to-space effort led by the consortium of Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
FOURTH PRIORITY -- HYPERSONIC RESEARCH
NASA's fourth priority is continuing research into critical
technologies for hypersonics, which may be the solution to low
cost access to space.
While the U.S. thought it led the world in hypersonic
research with the National Aerospace Plane program, the French and
Russians have moved ahead. Japan, China, Germany, Britain, and
India are also conducting aggressive hypersonic research programs.
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"Last week the French and Russians flight-tested a supersonic
combustion ramjet -- on a Russian rocket at speeds up to mach 5.5.
We had been working on a similar deal with the Russians, but
because of bureaucratic bothers, the French beat us to it," Goldin
Goldin said America has always led the world in speed, from
the X-1 through the X-15. The death of the superfast X-plane
program 25 years ago was one of the first examples of America
stepping back from the cutting edge, and a bad omen of things to
Now the same arguments against supersonic research are used
against hypersonic research: "It's too risky. We might fail."
Ironically, one the more interesting historical papers presented at the forum was a detailed description of how the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed combined top-secret ramjet propulsion technologies with segmented solid rocket boosters for the Mach 3 D-21B reconnaissance drones that were launched by modified SR-71s and B-52Hs in the late 1960s. The D-21B was specifically developed to gather intelligence over China.
This was the first time details on the segmented rocket booster portion of the D-21B program have been presented publicly, says Robert Geisler of Geisler Industries, who led the analysis with retired Pratt & Whitney and ATK Tactical Propulsion engineers. Segmented boosters use individual circular sections like space shuttle solid rocket motors.
•Aerodynamic performance of Chinese waverider designs integrated with an inlet. “Simulation studies were conducted to investigate forebody-inlet-isolator performance in an airframe-scramjet integrated hypersonic vehicle,” according to Liu Zhenxia, also at NPU.
The hypersonic plane, one of the most ambitious projects of the India Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), is expected to be test flown by the end of 2008 powered by a supersonic combustion ramjet (Scramjet) engine that takes oxygen from the atmosphere and burns liquid hydrogen.
The 'Aerobic Vehicle for hypersonic Aerospace TrAnpoRtation' (AVATAR) is a hyperplane concept from India. It is planned to be the size of a MiG-25 fighter and would be capable of delivering a 500 kg to 1000 kg payload to low earth orbit at a rather petty rate of $67 per kg assuming an airframe life of 100 launches.
Advanced Technology and Breakthrough Physics for 2025 and 2050 Military Aerospace Vehicles
David Froning and Paul Czysz
Gumeracha SA, HyperTech Concepts
Abstract: We are investigating the development of military aerospace planes that would embody advanced technology and break-through physics to revolutionize the capability of the US Air Force to respond in a timely manner to hostile threats facing the United States and its Allies. One plane concept embodied science and technology advances deemed developable by 2025. These advances included: MHD airbreathing propulsion, aneutronic fusion propulsion and light weight and high-strength airframe and propulsion materials--to accomplish Air Force aerospace missions from the ground up to geostationary orbit. The other plane embodied the further advancements in science and technology that were deemed possible by 2050. These advancements included: augmentation of MHD and fusion power with power from the zero-point energies of the quantum vacuum, and augmentation of vehicle jet propulsion with field propulsion to increase vehicle delta V by a factor of more than 2, thereby extending Air Force protective operations beyond earth orbit-into cislunar space. This paper has been approved for public release by the USAF.
In October 1987, following Phase 2A evaluation, Lockheed and Boeing, the two contractors with the most real-world experience with high speed aircraft development, were dropped from the NASP program, alongside General Electric.
Descriptors : *BLUNT BODIES, *HEAT TRANSFER, *HYPERSONIC FLOW, *MAGNETIC FIELDS, *MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS, FRICTION, GAS FLOW, JET MIXING FLOW, MATHEMATICAL ANALYSIS, SHOCK WAVES.
Interaction effects of the plasma with the applied magnetic field were observed in the form of an appreciable change in stand-off distance of the bow wave. The behavior of the induced currents and the induced flux density were examined by using three pick-up coils placed around the shock tube. This arrangement also made it possible to gain some more information about the available testing time and the values of the effective electrical conductivity of the argon plasma. Calculations covering a shock Mach number range from 9 to 19 were presented and a simple theory, was worked out for the particular magnetic field configuration. The validity and the significance of the calculations and experiments are discussed together with some proposals for further work.
The general background of the RDHWT/
MARIAH II Program and a systems overview
are described in Best, et al.1 and Ring, et al..2
The performance goal for the MSHWT for
airbreathing propulsion testing is to achieve a
Mach number, pressure, and temperature condition
in the test section corresponding t o
conditions upstream of the in-flight scramjet
forebody. This extreme test condition corresponds
to a free stream Mach number of 15
and a dynamic pressure of 2000Êlbf/ft2 at an
altitude of 34.4Êkm. Approximating the actual
bow shock as a shock attached to a wedge with
a five degree half angle results in post bow
shock conditions of 2898ÊPa, 408ÊK, and
As Deputy Director of the Hypersonic Research Division at NASA Headquarters, he directed the development of integrated, long-range research plans for the National Aerospace Plane and hypersonic flight guidance and control systems. He was the technical focus for NASA hypersonic research and coordinated the Agency’s Hypersonic Research Plan with the Department of Defense and the aerospace community which included many of his innovative concepts and strategies. He conceived the use of the Pegasus launch vehicle as a hypersonic test bed for low-cost flight experiments in the hypersonic flight regime. For a long time, this was the only flight research activity in NASA’s hypersonic airbreathing propulsion program. With researchers from other organizations as collaborators, he conceived and developed the LoFLYTE experiment that was used to obtain low-speed aerodynamic characteristics of a wave-rider hypersonic vehicle.
USPTO Application #: 20070187550
Title: Integrated inward turning inlets and nozzles for hypersonic air vehicles
Abstract: A hypersonic waverider aircraft is disclosed that includes a first engine and an inlet including a throat. The inlet is configured to generate three-dimensional flow compression during hypersonic flight with a weak shock wave that begins at the leading edge surfaces of the inlet and coalesces ahead of the throat, and a weak shock wave that begins at the point of coalescence of the weak shock wave and extends to the throat. The inlet includes a v-shaped lip open to freestream airflow in one side of the inlet.
Propulsion-related work for Falcon is being conducted under the Facet (Falcon combined-cycle engine test) series, and is examining the technology for a turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine. This will integrate a dual-mode ramjet/scramjet and a Mach 4-plus turbojet to allow the reusable HTV-3X to take off horizontally, accelerate to Mach 6, and return to land on a conventional runway. Key to its operation will be an inward-turning inlet that forms the basis for the axisymmetric scramjet flowpath design just evaluated in the recent test in Australia.
The test also augurs well for the ongoing hypersonic joint venture between the U.S. and Australia, which in late 2006 was extended under a $54-million agreement to explore technologies for a future generation of air-breathing weapons (AW&ST Mar. 19/26, p. 40). The six-year Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HiFire) effort, led by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and DSTO, is coordinating research performed with NASA, U.S. industry, the Australian Hypersonics Consortium and the University of Queensland’s hypersonics research group. Under HiFire, both AFRL and DSTO are designing experimental payloads and conducting ground testing while the Australian group integrates the payloads and performs launches. At least six of the HiFire flights will test technologies for next-generation waverider-configuration hypersonic vehicles powered by inward-turning scramjet designs.
Tracing three-dimensional inlet shapes from known flowfields has long served as the basis for a powerful inlet
design methodology. If the parent flowfield has high performance, the resulting 3D inlet will likely retain the high performance
characteristics. Further, streamline-traced inlets can often be designed with highly swept leading
edges, which can be beneficial from heat transfer and drag standpoints. Finally, the streamline tracing can be done
in a manner where the resulting inlets are much better suited to self-starting compared the parent flowfield.
The initial interest in inward-turning engine concepts dates to the late 1950s in the United States. the advantage of the inward turning engine concepts are a lower wetted surface area per unit massflow process by the engine. This feature inherently leads to lighter structures, lower heat loads and less frictional losses within the propulsion system.
A theory using a wedge model as the shock generator is developed to introduce a non-heating mechanism responsible for the observed plasma effect on shock waves. Analysis shows that the plasma spike can effectively deflect the incoming flow before the flow reaches the wedge consequently the shock structure in the interaction region is modified from an oblique one to a slightly curved one. The shock front moves upstream with a larger shock angle, consistent with the experimental results.
Abstract Two types of plasma spikes, generated by on-board 60 Hz periodic and pulsed dc electric discharges in front of two slightly different wind tunnel models, were used to demonstrate the non-thermal plasma techniques for shock wave mitigation.
Since the first supersonic vehicle, there have been many developments to reduce the strength of shock waves; increase shock standoff distance from the vehicle; and reduce the stagnation pressure and temperature. One of the first developments was that of the aerospike, as illustrated in FIG. 1. This is typically a pointed protrusion extending ahead of the nose of the vehicle or other critical shock-generating surfaces. The aerospike 10 effectively increases the “sharpness” of the vehicle , and is based on the idea of using a mechanical structure to physically push air to seed transverse motion in the fluid, thus allowing the fluid to start moving laterally out of the way before the fluid actually encounters a larger part of the vehicle . Because the aerospike pushes air, a shock wave actually begins to develop when the ambient air encounters the tip of the aerospike .
Electromagnetic, microwaves and/or electric discharge can be used to heat the gas along the path. This application has uses in reducing the drag on a body passing through the gas, noise reduction, controlling amount of gas into a propulsion system, and steering a body through the gas. An apparatus is also disclosed.
"We are looking at plasma fields for high-speed vehicle propulsion," says Dolvin, adding that experimental, analytical and simulation work on plasma technologies has been performed. An X-vehicle technology demonstrator could be funded for 2005-6.
To look at, the test vehicle suspended in the hypersonic wind tunnel is little more than a cone. But inside is a small device that could revolutionise the way aircraft fly, saving fuel and heralding a new age of travel.
It's a generator that sends a beam of microwaves upstream into the Mach 6 flow, ripping apart the gas ahead of the model so that it is flying through a plasma--a boiling mix of positive ions and electrons--rather than ordinary gas.