London to New York in ONE HOUR: US military to test radical new hypersonic aircraft: -
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2012, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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London to New York in ONE HOUR: US military to test radical new hypersonic aircraft:

"Get your ticket to that wheel in space
While there's time
The fix is in
You'll be a witness to that game of chance in the sky
You know we've got to win
Here at home we'll play in the city
Powered by the sun
Perfect weather for a streamlined world
There'll be spandex jackets one for everyone

What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free

On that train all graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail
NinetySixty minutes from New York to Paris..."

Donald Fagen

London to New York in ONE HOUR: US military to test radical new hypersonic aircraft that can reach 4,500mph within seconds

  • Scramjet engine can accelerate craft to over Mach 6
  • Could dramatically slash journey times by travelling at five times the speed of sound
By Mark Prigg
PUBLISHED: 06:00 EST, 13 August 2012 | UPDATED: 09:38 EST, 13 August 2012

It may look like a vehicle the Thunderbirds would travel in, but in fact this experimental aircraft could be the future of long haul flights.

It uses a revolutionary 'scramjet' engine that allows it to travel at hypersonic speeds.

Tomorrow, it will be dropped from a B52 bomber in its latest test.

London to New York in Less than an hour: The X-51A Waverider is designed to ride on its own shockwave, accelerating to about Mach 6


Scramjets are 'airbreathing' aircraft because rather than carrying both fuel and the oxygen needed to provide acceleration, they carry only hydrogen fuel and 'pull' the oxygen needed to burn it from the atmosphere.

Air is forced into the front of the engine and as hydrogen is injected into the airstream, the gases are compressed causing the temperature to rise and ignition to occur.

This generates huge amounts of thrust and enables the jet to travel at speeds far in excess of the 1,350mph top speed of Concorde.

The craft, called the X-51A Waverider, is currently being prepared at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert.

Tomorrow, it will take part in a key test.

Attached to a B-52 bomber's wing, it will be taken from Edwards to about 50,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu.

there' it will be dropped and the engines fired. The entire mission will last just 300 seconds, but will be the longest the craft has ever flown for.
Hypersonic flight is seen as the next step for aircraft.

'Attaining sustained hypersonic flight is like going from propeller-driven aircraft to jet aircraft,' Robert Mercier, deputy for technology in the high speed systems division at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio told the New york Times..

'Since the Wright brothers, we have examined how to make aircraft better and faster.

'Hypersonic flight is one of those areas that is a potential frontier for aeronautics.

'I believe we're standing in the door waiting to go into that arena.'

The experimental craft will be tested strapped to the wing of a B-52 bomber. Once released, it's radical scramjet engines will be fired, hopefully accelerating the craft up to Mach 6, over 2,000 metres per second.

The project is being funded by Nasa and the Pentagon, who hope it can be used for military stealth aircraft and new weapons.

The WaveRider program is estimated to cost $140 million, according to, a website for military policy research.

It has had a mixed history, with previous tests being aborted after the engine stalled.

The latest test will see the craft freefall for four seconds over the Pacific before its booster rocket engine ignites and propels the nearly wingless aircraft for 30 seconds to about Mach 4.5, before being jettisoned.

Then the cruiser's scramjet engine, notable because it has virtually no moving parts, ignites.

The WaveRider is expected to accelerate to about Mach 6 as it climbs to nearly 70,000 feet.

After 300 seconds of flight, the WaveRider is set to break up after splashing into the Pacific, as planned.

There are no plans to recover the WaveRider.

The X-51A Waverider on the wing of a B-52 Stratofortress. A previous test was the longest supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight to date.

The scramjet engine is designed to ride on its own shockwave, and should see the test craft accelerate to about Mach 6.


The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. Ps. 36:1

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Ps. 14:1, 53:1

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov. 1:7

...Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28
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