The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Boeing X-51A Waverider demonstrator successfully achieved sustained, scramjet-powered, air-breathing hypersonic flight above Mach 5 in its final test flight on May 1.
Although the Air Force is not yet commenting on details of the flight, the X-51A is thought to have experienced positive acceleration to speeds in excess of Mach 5 and run for the full duration of the planned powered phase of the test. Based on targets established for the previous test attempt, this could have been as long as 300 sec., followed by an unpowered gliding descent of around 500 sec. prior to impacting the sea in the Pacific Test range west of California. If these times and speeds are confirmed, they will represent new records for sustained, air-breathing hypersonic flight.
The X-51A is intended to prove the viability of a free-flying, scramjet-powered vehicle and is considered an essential building block toward the long-anticipated development of hypersonic weapons and other high-speed platforms. However, despite the partial success of the first flight, which reached Mach 4.88 under scramjet power in May 2010, that mission ended prematurely after a malfunction, as did the second flight in March 2011 and third in August 2012.
Originally posted by Florasaurus
Nice find!! Have a star (can't give you a flag yet )But if we're to believe all this speculation about the Aurora project then it's already possible to sustain flight at hypersonic speeds and this is just for show
I really don't know... My life would be simpler if I had super top secret experienceedit on 3-5-2013 by Florasaurus because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by MystikMushroom
reply to post by Florasaurus
Well, in one episode of Stargate SG:1 one of their scientists demonstrated some kind of directed energy weapon (and purposefully failed) in front of a bunch of civilian scientists.
There might be some credence to this type of "soft disclosure". Basically, you slowly introduce things that have already been developed in order not to shock people. Secrets can only be held for so long, it human nature to talk to someone.
I take it though that this "thing" that they got up/over mach 5 isn't very sexy looking!
Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by FraternitasSaturni
On a technical note, the reason Concorde failed was because it had to fly several hundred miles out to sea before it could go supersonic (there were issues such as operating cost, and profit involved too, but we're ignoring those to concentrate on the technical aspect). This meant that you still had to fly subsonic for a couple hours before you could go supersonic.
Supersonic flight over land causes problems (broken windows, things falling off shelves, cracked foundations....). NASA and others are working on a "quiet" supersonic aircraft that would allow them to fly supersonic over land, which means the entire flight (except take off and landing obviously), would be at supersonic speeds. There's no point in replacing Concorde until that happens, because the exact same problems would crop up now.