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Nasa wonder plane finally cleared for take-off … just as funding is cut

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posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 08:51 AM
Nasa is to test the X-43A hypersonic vehicle on Monday. This plane has commercial potential, but with a top speed of 10 times the speed of sound can the passengers stand the G-forces?

A REVOLUTIONARY new type of aircraft that could lead to flights between Glasgow and Sydney in only two hours, will be tested in America tomorrow.

Nasa will fly its X-43A hypersonic vehicle, or “scramjet” as it is better known, on Monday afternoon, aiming to make aviation history as it hurtles to 10 times the speed of sound, the highest velocity ever reached by an air fuelled engine.

posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 08:58 AM
Yawn. The article is a half truth. Yes, funding will be cut after the flight. That is only logical. Do you expect NASA to fly people around?


The tech will be forwarded to Boeing and the like for use in the military.

If history is right, the commercial sector will follow suite and make use of this developement.


[edit on 14-11-2004 by crisko]

posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 11:36 AM
I doubt seriously if the scramjet technology will be used in commercial flight in my lifetime. Remember that my company designed two similar aircraft; the first was the 2707-200 (which we began studying in 1952, 12 years before the FAA issued its RFP). We decided not to build it because it wouldn't make any economical sense; the Russians went ahead with the Tu-144, which due to its propensity to kill people, ended its career carrying cargo in Siberia. The Anglo-French Concorde actually flew and lost Air France and British Airways billions of dollars over its lifetime before being mercifully euthanized last year.

Our more recent Sonic Cruiser died in development because of the collapsse of the airline industry after September 2001.

It might be interseting to look at new technologies which are competing for the airliners' orders today. Airbus Industrie has bet the corporate farm on the hub-and-spoke system which envisages their A380 carrying 500 passengers to a central airport and them offloading them on smaller aircraft to their final destination (which would not be able to handle the A380).

Boeing, on the other hand, is building the 7E7 Dreamliner, which incorporates the ability to fly long distances to just about every airport around and much lower seat-mile costs, although it will carry much fewer passengers.

Note that neither of these airplanes is offering high speed as a selling point. The seat-mile cost of a fast plane is so high that airlines simply won't buy them because they know they'll lose money. Neither of the two large passenger players (Boeing and Airbus Industrie) or the up-and-coming new kid on the block (EMBRAER) is going to invest billions of dollars of non-recurring funds to build an aircraft that won't sell.

posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 04:15 PM
I suspect that this project has not really been cancelled, but instead handed off to the military. This happened earlier this year with NASA's X-37.

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