posted on Jul, 15 2004 @ 07:09 AM
Work continues on the NASA X-43 hyper-X vehicle. Earlier this year it made a successful hypersonic - Mach 7 - flight, and now NASA scientist are
tweaking the vehicle to reach Mach 10. Probably the biggest problem is heat; "At Mach 7, the front leading edge of the vehicle would see about 2,400
degrees Fahrenheit. At Mach 10, it’s probably twice that…twice the heat load essentially," Joel Sitz, X-43A project manager,
The March 27th mach 7 flight made history, it set a world-record speed for "air-breathing"flight, the rocket technology advanced by NASA’s
NASA X-43 Photo Collection
Like the two previous tests, the next X-43A is mounted to the front of a modified Pegasus XL booster. The combo is hauled skyward from Edwards Air
Force Base under the wing of NASA’s B-52B carrier plane. Once unleashed from the carrier plane, the Pegasus will rocket to 100,000 feet above
Earth where the X-43A separates and then powers itself to Mach 10.
At Mach 10 -- or 10 times the speed of sound -- the X-43A is traveling at about two miles per second. That’s in the range of 7,500 miles per
hour. Speeds over Mach 5 are defined as hypersonic.
“It is definitely easier to start with a successful Mach 7 [flight] and go to Mach 10. Had we not been successful at Mach 7 we would have had a
big job ahead of us,” Sitz said. “Predicting the aerodynamic forces should be pretty straightforward. But the thermal is the
challenge.”Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
- X-43a hypersonic research vehicle reaches Mach 7