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A hypersonic puzzle.

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posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 02:26 AM

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.

Boeing is working on a 'New Hyper X' hey ? The same boeing that is /was working in Oz on hypersonics ? nicely !

1997 folks. A spread out research effort just as I thought it was. Now I see why the information is so hard to find and scatterd about - This Global reach initiative sounds like they want an airframe, a missile and a space craft for a massive overwhelming superiority in both atmospheric and none atmospheric theatres of war.

Awesomeness indeed.

Read it here.Flight Global

[edit on 10-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 03:03 AM

They have an active finacial interest in this little lot as well.

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.

1975 the research goes black. 1975 people, black out.

This has been going on for a LONG time !

Japanese hypersonic research

posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 03:10 AM
I know its a bit disjointed, but its all pointing at this Global Strike initiative and the X-51 A / B craft.

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.

Yep - a hypersonic family of space and strike platforms. Beautiful. Led by some of the most prestigious aerospace engineering companies in the world.

Note its slated for a 2009 first flight.

posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 04:39 AM
I found an intriguing article from 1992.

NASA article

Theres the link to the whole thing. It was the last part that caught my eye -


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.

- more -

- 5 -

"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."

Aggressive projects from India Japan China germany and Britian. Also of note is that the French beat the USA to a deal with the Russians.

posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 11:15 PM
looking at international research it has made me realise just how loose lipped academics are - This little piece from Aviation week about an international hypersonic conference.

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.

If its going to be of use to a possible enemy, or to at least an aggressive nation why share it out ? yes academia is a neutral field with international efforts, but sharing this ? Interesting.

As to the shape of their efforts ?

•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.

Aviation Week

posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 11:36 PM
This is the Indian air breathing hypersonic airframe called AVATAR.

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.

and a little more about it.

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.


Seems like the race is on for cheap acces to space.

posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 11:56 PM

Seems that the british A2 effort is again in private hands just like HOTOL was.

Looks very Thunder Birds, but the video gives a good impression of the dedication of the team behind it.

I hope nothing happens to halt this effort like HOTOL. Would love a 4 hour flight to Oz!

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 12:32 AM
In the early 1980s, Lockheed was examining the idea of building a hypersonic aircraft with a similar mission and range to the SR-71 but higher speed and altitude capabilities. Around this time, a company artist produced a painting of a proposed "Mach 5 Penetrator." In a December 1983 Hypersonic Committee meeting, a Lockheed representative outlined some of the problems encountered by the design engineers:

"Although Lockheed would like to use liquid hydrogen as fuel for their new vehicle design in order to achieve the desired range and Mach number; instead, they are considering a vehicle that uses liquid methane. The reason for this is the lack of a supply of liquid hydrogen."

"Lockheed's biggest design problems appear to be in [the area of propulsion]. They are looking at a propulsion system that uses four F100-PW-100 turbofans with parallel ramjet engines, both behind a pair of 2-D inlets. The problem areas are structural weight and temperatures of the propulsion system. Another interesting problem is the large amount of bleed that is required at the high Mach numbers to operate the inlet."

The [problem with structures] is to provide materials or cooling to structures which are to operate at very high temperatures (Mach 4 to 5 cruise) for long periods of time. They are looking at concepts such as titanium honeycomb, metallic insulation tiles, and new ,materials (composites)."

Most of the work Lockheed undertook in these areas was done under contract to NASA Langley Research Center. There should be contractor reports somewhere.

Other good sources of information on hypersonics include:

"The History of Hypersonics: or, 'Back to the Future - Again and Again'" (AIAA-2005-0329) by Dr. Richard P. Hallion

"Hypersonics - A Periodic Quest" (AIAA-2005-3258) by Ming Tang and Ramon Chase

"Air Force Research Laboratory Hypersonic Propulsion Research Programs" (AIAA-2007-5371) by Joseph M. Hank

"A Comparison of Hypersonic Vehicle Flight and Prediction Results" (NASA TM-104313) by Kenneth W. Iliff and Mary F. Shafer

These and others are available online.

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 01:13 AM

Please don't dismiss the source as the actual Pdf is extremely relevant to this thread.

Roughly, it seems that super conducting magnets will be used to slow the air coming into the inlets from hypersonic mach speeds to a lower usable mach number (other documents I have linked have stated a sustainable airflow speed of mach 3). This then allows the engines to be working at hypersonic mach speeds and yet in reality be only facing a mach 3 air flow.

This explains how the Russians would of used MHD in their AJAX aircraft.

One very strange thought though - Directed Energy beam Weapons crops up again and again when talking about the power available to the airframe through the use of these MHD generators.

Now read this United States Air force released snippet.

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.

AAG 2025 hypersonics

We know about the 2018 bomber from intelgurl and other sources here on ATS, and we also know they have a very futuristic vison for their generation after the 2018 system.

seems like we are entering some very interesting periods of aviation history.

[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 02:01 AM
A historical footnote.

Seems the time line may have went - Science Dawn 1980 -82, Copper Canyon 1984 -1985, Have Region 1986 -1988 (which was a Boeing / Lockheed martin / McDonnell three way demonstrator fight) with Boeing seems to have been able to come up trumps and then the 1988 NASP 'orient express'.

This time line estimation is from:

AAG McDonnell interview

and NSS hypersonic research

Both of these offer a good idea at just how long and deep this research effort has been, and the monumental obstacles they have had to over come.

The interview with the former head of Mcdonnells hypersonic research is a eye opener indeed. (the graphics in it though leave alot to be desired)


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.

GE, LM and Boeing got dropped ? and then the NASP project gets canned ? ohh the conspiracy freak in me goes 'oh really!?'.

Past stealth projects

[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 06:37 AM
If you've been with me so far you will see that I have been reaching back into the past to see how far back the research and development for hypersonic aircraft has gone.

Now, it seems that a very highly classified area of research pertains to an area called magnetohydrodynamics - a field that I thought was a modern concept.

Not at all, it has been studied since 1959 at least.



MHD research

and this one below from 1968

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.

MHD research

and this abstract is all about tungsten composites for hypersonic aircraft. date: July 1967.

Tungsten composites

What i am trying to get across is the depth of research that the United States has done in this critical area of hypersonic flight. 50 years all told, and yet we are still today looking at another 20 years before this said technology is available.

In 60 years since the Wright brothers first flew we had the SR-71. 40 years after the SR-71 we have nothing better than it today ?

At least we have the hypersonic wind tunnel. Heres a great Pdf all about it and its capabilities for testing wedge shaped bodies at speeds up to mach 15.

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
Mach 11.3.

e-reports Hypersonic wind tunnel

[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 07:24 AM
Staying with research at the minute, I came across a great NASA web page with a scientists biography attached and a small picture.

Its the only single picture of an engine that uses MHD devices I can find.

It shows for 100% certain that this area of research is not only prized but extremely complex - have a read.

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.

So he designs the engines and the actual wave rider shaped LoFLYTE to test low speed hypersonic shapes - the very same shape thats perfect for the use as a hypersonic airframe.

Wow - we have here the brains, the airframe designer AND the engine designer, and they are all the same person!

Dr Isaiah Blankton.


Looking at how damned complex that engine is it makes my mind bleed in sympathy at the technical hurdles they faced.

Here is the man in question who in the white world solved the mathematics and designed the engine !

[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 04:07 PM
Fresh patents

Looking through patents isn't my idea of fun, but some times using strange combos of words pays off.

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.

It all comes back down to the technologial barriers. This engine apparantly does the slowing of the high speed mach air without the need for the MHD applications as seen in my previous post.

The air is bled away and re-introduced further down the jet stream so that even at high mach there is only an eqivulant of a mach 3 air flow.

Stunning, it really is. NASA seemes to have been beaten to the punch.

[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 04:22 PM

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.

Aviation now 2007

So this may have to be seen as a defeat for the MHD engines for this 2018 effort, with the possibilty that the direct energy weapons are not available, or the actual application of a device is too high a technical barrier to hurdle at the moment.

Or they are not even intended for the 2018 time line at all, but the 'next' generation after.

However its great to see that Oz is such a player in this futuristic development effort.

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.


They have the airframe shape, the now have the engines, and more importantly they have the funding and the will.

[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 04:44 PM

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.

Secret projects

Now, going through the links I have included in my previouse posts one thing has become apparent.

This was a development intended for the 2018 systems (operational debut time line) NOT the 2030 time line.

Thats interesting in itself as we can see from the NASA research that MHD is important for both ultra hypersonic speeds in excess of mach 12, and for the generation of huge amounts of power to be used by on board systems such as direct energy weapons.

I was wrong in my assumption. I believe now that NASA wasn't beaten to the punch at all - They were working not on the same project as I thought, but on similar side by side research but for the next generation of craft.

Think mach 15 -25 and armed with direct energy weapons.

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 05:10 PM
Lets have a look at some hardwear ! This from the man who built the X43 models for the prog. manager and his staff. here is his special for the boss.

Looks good doesn't it ? the guy knows his onions when it comes to aircraft.... so have a look at this beautiful wave rider he hand built.

Two things to note. Single tail fin and that beautiful curved wave rider shape very unlike the x-43 design. Wonder where he got the idea from ?!?

and this is the under side. Superb model, i for one would love a copy sat on my desk!

The reason i include these is that he discards the dual fins for a single unit mid body - and yet every thing, including modern designs have twin tails.... does he know some thing we don't ? (like maybe he has seen the designs for it maybe ?)

Nine finger models

[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 08:55 PM
[Please this is a summary so far post. Skip it if you want to just reads 'hard links' to info. Thanks alot, Daniel].

Wow - quite a chase around the web dragging up some stuff from years gone by, but I can sure as heck say its been informative.

I started on a premise that the 'aurora' aircraft was built and flown (and to my mind their is enough evidence to suggest at the very least a conceptual airframe was flown with pulse detonation wave engines). We had a good look around the companies who could possibly be involved in this effort, and we have seen that engine builders, airframe builders and avionics were all advanced enough to create this possible airframe.

That people is where I made my mistake. I presumed that technologically it was so far advanced that research had either stood still or wrapped deep in the black because of its technical brilliance.

Nothing could of been further from the truth.

through 5 pages of links and articles we not only see that it was an on going research project, but that the aims shifted to hypersonic aircraft utilising advanced air breathing engines to go way faster than the mach 5 I had thought the 'aurora' was capable of.

Turns out that their is a whole monsterous paper trail of hypersonic airframes tested / developed / scrapped, enough to fill a whole bone yard in nevada!

The thread then took a good look at this emerging technology (emerging into the white world) and it was plain to see that uses for this new hypersonic researchh had been identified and was in the process of being turned into hard flight testable airframes.

I thought that this project had an aim.

X-51 waverider and possibly the HTV-3X hypersonic falcon family of airframes.

Then i came across some thing that has really made me sit up and take notice.

Magnetohydrodynamics. The black art of getting your hypersonic air to a low enough speed to use a normal mach 3 capable jet in a mach 7 -15 airframe.

One thing that keeps creeping into each search is MHD engines and the power they produce. Most sources said they were for generating power for direct energy weapons onboard.

Then I stumbled across an article that has made me re-evaluate my stance.

From here on in we will be looking 20 years maybe down the line.

We will be looking at an area of hypersonic research all about plasma and plasma fields - both in the sense of stealth, and super high speeds with low friction from the air around the craft - and its direct cousin, microwaves beamed in front of an airframe to split the very air it was to fly through.

We are going into the realms of 'it may be possible'. I hope its a good ride.

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 09:44 PM
Lets get the science people to tell us about this technology.

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.

IOP Journals

So roughly it is using a force generated projected into the plasma to move it back from your airframe outwards and around, leaving your craft almost untouched.

Shockwave mitigation.

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.

Shockwave experiment

The Russians are at it too !

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 .

Free patents online

The above is talking about a physical body in front of our airframe, but the link does show that they have tried and / or thought about using lasers, microwaves and other beamed applications. The actual dynamics though are the same - you move the shock from your airframe outwards and away, leaving you smoother air to travel through with less heating and resistance.

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.

patent storm

reduce drag, control amount of gas in the engines and possibly steering the craft.

But you say, thats going to need huge amounts of power.

I say we have our answer already in the thread. Step forward MHD engines.

remember that direct energy weapons kept cropping up again and again in relation to MHD power plants ? well what can power your laser can power your 'spike' too. They have the potential to open up a whole new area of flight regimes, and for only another decades grace to reach full maturity.

They won't be 2018, they will be the generation after. NASA didn't fail, they just leap frogged the competition.

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 09:53 PM

"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.

Flight Global 2000

Plasma fields for high speed propulsion.... oohhh ohhh thats nice. Looks like our man from NASA indeed did leap frog the competition.

MHD engines it is as our power plants... plenty of electricity spare there then!

[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dan Tanna]

posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 10:06 PM

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.

Space daily 2000

A beam of microwaves into the mach 6 flow and ripping it to pieces. That would need power to carry out, but what an idea, what a sheer stroke of genius. If your facing a wall, knock it down rather than try to get it to flow around you.

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