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X-51A Waverider Takes First Captive Flight

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X-51 Waverider

X-51 Waverider

PRATT & WHITNEY ROCKETDYNE PRESS RELEASE

The U.S. Air Force X-51A WaveRider vehicle yesterday successfully made its first captive carry flight under the wing of a B-52 carry aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The X-51A is powered by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.

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First Captive X-51 WaveRider Flight Set for Wednesday

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X-51 Waverider

X-51 Waverider

Air Force’s X-51 WaveRider close to first flight
AviationDayton

The first “captive carry” flight of the Air Force’s revolutionary X-51 WaveRider is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 9, in California, a spokesman said today.

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Hypersonic X-51 Waverider Set for First Flight

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X-51 Waverider

X-51 Waverider

Mach 6 test aircraft set for trials: X-51A WaveRider could change aircraft design
Network World

The aspiration that jets may some day fly at over six-times the speed of sound took a very real step toward reality recently as the US Air Force said it successfully married the test aircraft, known as the X-51A WaveRider to a B-52 in preparation for a Dec. 2 flight test.

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Scramjet Engine Installed in Second X-51A Waverider Vehicle

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X-51 Waverider

X-51 Waverider

PRATT & WHITNEY PRESS RELEASE

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s scramjet engine SJY61-2 has been installed in the second X-51A flight test vehicle at Boeing Phantom Works in Palmdale, Calif. This is the second of four engines that will be used in flight testing of the X-51A scheduled to begin later this year. The X-51A is expected to exceed Mach 6 and set the foundation for several hypersonic applications. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

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X-51A WaveRider Prepared for December Test Flights

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On the flightline of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Staff Sgt. Jonathan Young prepares to upload the X-51A WaveRider hypersonic flight test vehicle to a B-52 Stratofortress July 17 for fit testing. Two B-52 test flights are planned this fall prior to the X-51's first hypersonic scramjet flight over the Pacific Ocean scheduled in December. Representatives from the Air Force Research Laboratory, DARPA, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing are partnering on the X-51A technology demonstrator program.

On the flightline of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Staff Sgt. Jonathan Young prepares to upload the X-51A WaveRider hypersonic flight test vehicle to a B-52 Stratofortress July 17 for fit testing. Two B-52 test flights are planned this fall prior to the X-51's first hypersonic scramjet flight over the Pacific Ocean scheduled in December. Representatives from the Air Force Research Laboratory, DARPA, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing are partnering on the X-51A technology demonstrator program.

 

AIR FORCE PRESS RELEASE

Airmen successfully mated the X-51A WaveRider flight test vehicle to a B-52 Stratofortress July 17 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The fit check followed integration earlier in the month of the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne scramjet propulsion system into the X-51 at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif.

The X-51 test vehicle is now back at the Boeing facility in Palmdale where additional systems integration and testing are taking place in preparation for its inaugural flight test in December, said Charlie Brink, X-51 program manager from the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Propulsion Directorate here.

During the flight test, currently planned Dec. 2, the Air Force Flight Test Center’s B-52 will carry the X-51A to 50,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean then release it. A solid rocket booster from an Army tactical missile system then will ignite and accelerate the X-51 to about Mach 4.5. Then, the supersonic combustion ramjet propulsion system will propel the vehicle for five minutes to more than Mach 6. Hypersonic combustion generates intense heat so routing of the engine’s own JP-7 fuel will help keep the engine at the desired operating temperature.

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Edwards Receives First X-51A WaveRider Vehicle

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X-51A hypersonic test vehicle (Air Force photo/Mike Cassidy)

X-51A hypersonic test vehicle (Air Force photo/Mike Cassidy)

EDWARDS AFB PRESS RELEASE

The first X-51A Scramjet Engine Demonstrator WaveRider vehicle arrived at Edwards Integrated Maintenance Facility, Building 710 June 25. The aircraft will begin ground tests July 6. Assembly was completed last month at Boeing’s High Desert Assembly, Integration and Test facility at Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif.

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Reusable Spaceplane Efforts Continue

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X-51 Waverider

X-51 Waverider

William John Cox gives an overview of the aviation and space travel in his essay, “Comet, Airbus and Spaceplane: The Past, Present and Future of Commercial Aviation.” The last section of the essay provides an overview of past and present efforts to design reusable spaceplanes, including the X-43, X-51 and HTV-3X Blackswift programs.

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

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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.

Read the full story.