X-51A Waverider Hypersonic Flight Delayed

X-51 Waverider

(AFNS) The scheduled May 25 launch of the X-51A Waverider hypersonic flight test vehicle has been postponed 24 hours. The delay was due to the presence of a freighter transiting in a section of the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range several hundred miles off the California coast.

A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aircraft supporting the test was safety scanning the Pacific Ocean test range for shipping traffic shortly after 9 a.m. Pacific time when its crew discovered a ship steaming in international waters underneath a block of restricted airspace located in the vicinity of the X-51A’s potential splashdown zone.

A B-52 Stratofortress from the Air Force Flight Test Center here was preparing to takeoff with the X-51A under its wing when the mission was scrubbed due to the ship’s presence.

Weather permitting, the X-51A will make its first hypersonic flight attempt May 26. Air Force officials will release additional information on the flight test later that day.