U.S. Air Force Set To Begin X-51 Hypersonic Flight Tests Space News
The maiden flight of the X-51 Waverider aircraft â€” the first U.S. hypersonic vehicle to fly in six years â€” is scheduled to take place later in March. Boeing Defense, Space & Security Systems of St. Louis has been developing the aircraft since 2003 on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
â€œThe long-range goal of this for the Air Force is access to space,â€ said Charlie Brink, an Air Force Research Laboratory propulsion directorate official who manages the X-51 program from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Hypersonic â€˜WaveRiderâ€™ poised for test flight MSNBC
Hoping to bridge the gap between airplanes and rocketships, the U.S. military is preparing to test an experimental aircraft that can fly more than six times faster than the speed of sound on ordinary jet fuel.
Tests Are Crunch Time for Scramjet Concept Aviation Week
Boeing will complete assembly of the first X-51A WaveRider static test vehicle over the next two weeks, paving the way for hypersonic flight tests designed to show that the supersonic combustion ramjet is ready for practical application in missiles and space launch vehicles.
Alliant Techsystems announced today that it successfully completed testing for a new class of hypersonic propulsion systems that will enable High Speed Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to travel long distances at velocities more than five times the speed of sound.