X-51 Hypersonic Vehicle is Air Force’s Ticket to Space

X-51 Waverider
X-51 Waverider

Scramjet engine flight tests to start this fall
Dayton Daily News

This fall, the Air Force will send a futuristic-looking aircraft roaring out over the Pacific Ocean at nearly five times the speed of sound in its first flight test of a scramjet engine.

Officials hope the engine eventually will provide a speedier transition between conventional aircraft in the atmosphere and rockets in outer space for deployment of satellites, and reconnaissance or strike missions.

“The long-range goal of this for the Air Force is access to space,” said Charlie Brink, an Air Force Research Laboratory propulsion directorate official who manages the X-51 program from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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