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The maiden flight of the X-51 Waverider aircraft — the first U.S. hypersonic vehicle to fly in six years — is scheduled to take place later in March. Boeing Defense, Space & Security Systems of St. Louis has been developing the aircraft since 2003 on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
LOS ANGELES - After a decade of development, the Air Force this month plans to launch a robotic spacecraft resembling a small space shuttle to conduct technology tests in orbit and then glide home to a California runway.
The ultimate purpose of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle and details about the craft, which has been passed between several government agencies, however, remain a mystery as it is prepared for launch April 19 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
DARPA Selects Four Contractors for Vulcan Hypersonic Engine Program
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has kicked off the Vulcan program with awards to four contractors. The four contractors participating in the eight-month first phase are: Alliant TechSystems, General Electric, Rolls Royce and United Technologies.
...The Vulcan program is a propulsion system demonstration effort to design, build and ground-test an engine capable of accelerating a full-scale hypersonic vehicle from rest to Mach 4+. The Vulcan engine is critical to enabling full-scale hypersonic cruise vehicles for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, strike or other critical national missions.
University of Queensland researchers are testing new materials to withstand the extreme heat experienced by hypersonic vehicles in flight so they can fly for substantially longer.
"What it offers that we have seldom had is the ability to bring back payloads and experiments to examine how well the experiments performed on-orbit," said Gary Payton, the undersecretary of the Air Force for space programs. "That's one new thing for us."
Although the X-37B is outfitted to spend up to 270 days in orbit, the first mission's length will hinge on accomplishing all of its goals.
"We'll have certain de-orbit opportunities just like the shuttle does," Payton said. "We aren't married to any particular on-orbit duration right now."
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Team Vandenberg successfully launched the first Minotaur IV Lite launch vehicle at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 22, 2010, from Space Launch Complex-8 here. The rocket launched the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2.
The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base says a Minotaur 4 rocket carrying the glider blasted off Thursday afternoon from the central California coast. The Air Force statement does not reveal the result of the test involving the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2.
The maiden flight of the X-51 Waverider aircraft — the first U.S. hypersonic vehicle to fly in six years — is scheduled to take place later in March.
Hypersonic proponents worldwide will eagerly watch two long-awaited technology demonstrations starting with the imminent first flight attempt for the X-51 Waverider, to be followed within a month by the first flight of the Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic test vehicle.
The HTV 2a payload launched Thursday separated from the Minotaur high in the upper atmosphere at a velocity more than 20 times the speed of sound. But tracking assets lost contact with the triangle-shaped craft 9 minutes after liftoff. "An engineering team is reviewing available data to understand this event," DARPA said in a written statement.
Originally posted by toreishi
reply to post by Murcielago
could this be a part of HTV2?
"It is definitely not a meteor and not a different natural substance –- somebody created it, and it did not appear from outer space," said Ittai Gavrieli, Director of the Geological Survey of Israel.
In the last week of May, thousands of square miles of airspace above the Pacific Ocean will be cleared to make way for a skinny, shark-nosed aircraft called the X-51.
The 4-metre-long prototype will drop from beneath the wing of a bomber and attempt to become the first scramjet to punch through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds for minutes, not seconds.
The first launch should be called 1b as the very first test went up and than down, boom, spectacular and scary.
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio: Weather permitting, Air Force officials said the X-51A Waverider will make its first hypersonic flight test attempt May 25 after it is released from a B-52 Stratofortress off the southern coast of California.
The unmanned X-51A is expected to fly autonomously for five minutes, powered by a supersonic combustion scramjet engine, accelerating to about Mach 6 and transmitting vast amounts of data to ground stations before breaking up after splashing down into the Pacific, as planned. There are no plans to recover the flight test vehicle, one of four built.
"In those 300 seconds, we hope to learn more about hypersonic flight with a practical scramjet engine than all previous flight tests combined," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory's Propulsion Directorate here.
The unmanned aerial vehicle was released from a U.S. Air Force B-52H bomber off the southern California coast around 10 a.m. today. It flew autonomously for more than 200 seconds, powered by its Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) motor, as it transmitted telemetry data to ground stations. Something then occurred that caused the vehicle to lose acceleration. At that point, the X-51A was terminated as planned.
"The technology proven today is something The Boeing Company has worked on for the past seven years," said Alex Lopez, vice president of Advanced Network & Space Systems, a division of Boeing Phantom Works. "It is thrilling to be a part of history and advance hypersonic science to the next level. Boeing is looking forward to transitioning the technology to operation in the near term, but for now, we are exhilarated."
Even before analyzing the terabytes of telemetry data transmitted by the X-51A during flight, Air Force officials called the test an unqualified success.