The two X-34 hypersonic research aircraft developed by Orbital Sciences Corp. to serve as flight demonstrators for a NASA rocket engine technology development program in the mid-1990s were transported overland via truck from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base to the Mojave Air and Spaceport Nov. 16-17. The two technology demonstrators will be stored temporarily at a hangar operated by the National Test Pilot School while undergoing inspections by Orbital Sciences personnel to determine if they are viable for flight.
Following an extensive six-month review, the independent Engineering Review Board (ERB) chartered to examine data collected during the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicleâ€™s (HTV-2) first flight has completed its review. The ERB concluded that the anomaly resulted from flight control authority limitations to operate at the angle of attack the vehicle was programmed to fly for the speed and altitude of the flight.
NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate has amended its announcement, “Research Opportunities in Aeronautics 2010,” to solicit additional proposals. The announcement has been modified to include new topics in support of the agency’s Hypersonics Project.
Pratt & Whitney received a $33.8 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop Constant Volume Combustion (CVC) engine technology under Phase II of the Vulcan advanced propulsion program.Â Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.
Toward the end of a long article about the Pentagon’s effort to achieve Prompt Global Strike capability, reporter Sharon Weinberger looks at the military’s multiple ventures into the realm of hypersonics:
An alternative to the conventionally armed land-based ICBM is a hypersonic weapon, essentially a cruise missile capable of traveling at many times the speed of sound-faster than anything in todayâ€™s conventional arsenal. These missiles would not have to leave the Earthâ€™s atmosphere and would have very different trajectories from ICBMs, so Russia would be less likely to mistake them for nuclear weapons.
The Asian Age reports on a recent Mach 3 test of India’s BrahMos cruise missile. However, India is hoping the BrahMos-II successor will do much more:
The BrahMos could be a laggard when India will become the first country to have cruise missiles that can fly at hypersonic speeds of over 6,000 km per hour. As an agreement for their joint development will be signed with Russia during the visit of the Russian President, Mr Dmitry Medvedev, in December.
The speed of the existing variant of BrahMos is half than that of the proposed ones. The hypersonic missiles are expected to be ready by 2015-16, the sources said.
If the United States succeeds in developing conventional hypersonic weapons systems, Russia will be ready. The Voice of Russia reports that Col. Viktor Dvoinov, second in command of air defenses for the country’s ground forces, told a Moscow radio station on Saturday that the military will have a powerful laser defense system in place against hypersonic vehicles by 2015.
Global Security Newswire reports that defense officials are close to finishing their investigation into the failure of the HTV-2 hypersonic vehicle on April 22:
A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency review board “is in the last phases of its internal review” of the Hypersonic Test Vehicle-2’s maiden flight test and should report out in “the next month or so,” Zachary Lemnios said at a breakfast session with reporters this morning. “When that review board finishes their work, weâ€™ll come out with a statement on exactly whatâ€™s happened.”
Lockheed Martin announced today that its Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) rocket motor successfully boosted the experimental X-51A WaveRider beyond Mach 4.5, the speed at which a scramjet will start and begin to provide thrust. The successful boost helped the X-51 hypersonic scramjet engine to accelerate to a historic Mach 5, a first for the vehicle.
China builds hypersonic wind tunnel to develop spaceplane China Defense Mashup
Chinese Inner Mongolia North Heavy Industries Group recently announced that the group has successfully provided the key element of â€œJF12 Shockwave Hypersonic wind tunnelâ€, which is the most advanced and creative project in world Hypersonic research area. â€œJF12 Shockwave Hypersonic wind tunnelâ€ is being constructed for the initiation of Chinaâ€™s future spaceplane project. JF12 Windtunnel is mainly designed by the Institute of Mechanics, CAS (Chinese Academy of Science).
Spate of Hypersonic Vehicle Tests Fuels Global Strike Debate National Defense Magazine
The militaryâ€™s reusable space plane, the X-37B, and its classified payload lifted off in April only one day after the maiden flight of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencyâ€™s Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 suborbital glider. It flew nine minutes before operators lost its signal and were forced to abort the mission.
Air Force Sees Hypersonic Weapons and Spaceships in Future Space.com
A recent United States Air Force scramjet test has hinted at a future where hypersonic vehicles streak through the sky at many times the speed of sound around the world, and perhaps even open up access to space.
The experimental X-51A Waverider used a rocket booster and an air-breathing scramjet to reach a speed of Mach 5 and achieve the longest hypersonic flight ever powered by such an engine on May 26. That technology might not only deliver cargo quickly to different parts of the globe, but could also transform the space industry and spawn true space planes that take off and land from the same runway.
The wealth of possibilities offered by aerospace vehicles that can ride their own shockwaves likely explains why the project has drawn support from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), NASA, and the U.S. Navy.
“We could have in the future such things as hypersonic weapons that fly 600 nautical miles in 10 minutes,” said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, during a June 1 teleconference.