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Originally posted by Shugo
I think they won't. I've thought about them possibly making it a bomber or fighter. I do not think theat we are going to make a bomber that goes from Mach 8 to Mach 25. Mach 6 possibly.
Originally posted by SimonGray
Why does a high speed determine that such an aircraft would be an improbable candidate for reconnaissance?
At such a high speed, hypersonic reconnaissance would be an awesome intelligence weapon. The CIA would have it's snaps and be out of there before ground-based weapons could target the sucker.
Originally posted by intensity
Just because they say the project was cancelled at such and such a time doesn't mean that it actually was.
found on the FAS Site
Prior analyses of scramjet propulsion systems had concluded that they would only be able to achieve speeds of about Mach 8. At this speed, the thrust emerging from the rear of the plane would be balanced by the heat generated by atmospheric drag and the high temperature of the air as it entered the front of the engine. Thus limited to a maximum speed that was only one-third the orbital velocity of Mach 25, a scramjet-propelled vehicle would need rocket motors to achieve the remaining speed needed to reach orbit. Analyses concluded that such a vehicle would be heavier and more complicated that a conventional rocket.
However, the Copper Canyon project discovered that higher speeds could be achieved through the imaginative use of active thermal management. By circulating, and thus heating, the scramjet's hydrogen propellant through the skin of the vehicle prior to injection into the engine, energy generated through atmospheric drag was added to the thrust of the scramjet, enabling it to accelerate beyond the Mach 8 thermal barrier. Initially, there was optimism that this active thermal management approach would permit speeds of up to Mach 25 using air- breathing engines alone, eliminating the need for rocket propellants to achieve orbit
specifications found on BlackVault
Speed: Maximum operational speeds are reported to be in the range of Mach 5-8.
Ceiling: May have an operational altitude of 150,000 feet (28.4 miles) or higher.
Engine type: Scram jet or Pulse Detonation Wave Engines
Armament: Possibly Phoenix Missiles
Main Mission: Reconnasaince
The multi-year NASA/industry Hyper-X program seeks to demonstrate airframe-integrated, "air-breathing" engine technologies that promise to increase payload capacity for future vehicles, including hypersonic aircraft (faster than Mach 5) and reusable space launchers. The X-43 will be the first free-flying demonstration of an airframe-integrated, air-breathing engine and will extend the flight range to Mach 10.
The National Aero Space Plane
As a part of a five-company team, Pratt & Whitney is pursuing and refining propulsion technologies for the National Aero-Space Plane (NASP). Designated X-30, this huge aircraft will operate from conventional airfields on Earth and fly at hypersonic speeds _ up to Mach 25 or Mach 30 (15,000 to 17,000 miles per hour) _ and be capable of achieving low Earth orbit.
A scaled propulsion system has been tested at a speed of Mach 8 and other components as high as Mach 14. Additionally, an engine cowl cooling device has been tested at temperatures it would encounter at Mach 20.
The team is made up of two engine companies, Space Propulsion and Systems and Rockwell's Rocketdyne Division, and three airframe companies, General Dynamics, McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell's North American Aircraft.
If the information is considered perishable; that is, subject to change quickly, it might be downloaded during the mission via satellite to Helendale or sent directly to NPIC in Washington, D.C. where CIA and other interpretation agencies could act upon it.
Coupled with this type of information is Keyhole and Joint STARS, both of which provide instant, high-resolution vertical and oblique images and electronic information of any location on Earth virtually at the speed of light.
The other interesting thing to note is what the "Cassiopeia" apparently is. While the design will be unfamiliar to some, to others, they will recognize the classic lines instantly (as I did). Named for yet another character from Greek mythology (notice that NASA names their ships while ANSA apparently does not (in the movies, that is)), the "Cassiopeia" is none other than the prototype design concept for the United States NASP National AeroSpace Plane, better known as the X-30 or the "Orient Express". I won't bore you with details on the X-30, suffice to say that it was cancelled long ago and that there are plenty of websites out there dealing with information on it if you are interested (and you should be, it was an amazing project). The NASP / X-30 / "Orient Express" was a single stage surface to orbit and back to surface reusable design intended to not only service space stations, but also to be a hypersonic commercial passenger liner that would have made the Concorde look like a single engine Cessna in comparison for speed. There was a rather bland movie done along the lines of the old "MAROONED" movie, where a NASP type vehicle suffers a malfunction and is stranded in orbit with all the passengers aboard. I think the name of the movie was "Starflight One" and it starred Lee Majors (of "Six Million Dollar Man" fame) as the pilot. It might be an interesting brain dead adventure if you have nothing better to do, or worth renting if you find it purely for the nostalgic value and to see how one of these vessels might have operated.
National AeroSpace Plane (NASP)/X-30
The NASP, NASA designation X-30, was a TAV. It was to airbreath to Mach 25 (orbital speed). Ref: Hannigan, Russell J., "Spaceflight in the Era of Aero-Space Planes," Krieger Publishing Co, 1994.
NASP Derived Vehicle (NDV)
The NDV Ref: Hannigan, Russell J., "Spaceflight in the Era of Aero-Space Planes," Krieger Publishing Co, 1994.