After the crash more than two years ago, NASA will be testing the X-43 on March 27th, and hope it will reach hypersonic speed (faster than mach 5).
The X-43 will be lifted to 40,000 feet by a modified B-52, then a modified Pegasus booster will propel the craft to it's test altitude. It will then
disconnect from the booster and fly under its own power at seven times the speed of sound (5,000 miles per hour).
NASA has set Saturday, March 27, as the tentative date for the re-flight of its experimental Hyper-X craft, the flight vehicle designated as the
X-43A. The unpiloted vehicle, part aircraft and part spacecraft, will be dropped high over the Pacific Ocean from the wing of a B-52 aircraft.
The B-52/X-43A combination will depart from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.
The X-43A tops a modified Pegasus booster that will propel the craft to test altitude. Once released from the Pegasus, the experimental craft is to
briefly fly under its own power at seven times the speed of sound, roughly 5,000 miles per hour, or about one and one-half miles per second.
Air-breathing/scramjet engine technology embodied in the X-43A promises to increase payload capacity for future vehicles, including hypersonic
aircraft (faster than Mach 5) and reusable space launchers.
A first try to fly the X-43A ended in failure on June 2, 2001. The vehicle spun out of control and had to be destroyed by range safety control. A
mishap board later found that the failure was the result of inaccuracies in computer and wind-tunnel tests, based on insufficient design information
about the vehicle itself.
The Hyper-X Program is managed at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Related discussions on the ATS forum
EXCLUSIVE: Cause of X-43A Hyper-X Crash Identified
ATS: NASA'S HYPER-X PROJECT
NASA fact sheet
NASA's X-43 project home page
Air-Attack.com X-43 page
PDF: Official NASA X-43A Mishap Investigation report
[Edited on 18-3-2004 by Zion Mainframe]