By Stephen C. Webster
THE RAW STORY
August 13, 2012
The U.S. Air Force will test an experimental plane on Tuesday that’s capable of flying at hypersonic speeds of over one mile per second.
If Tuesday’s test is successful, it will mark the first time the craft has traveled at sustained speeds topping Mach 6, or roughly 3,600 miles per hour. Traveling at those speeds, one could cross the Pacific ocean from Los Angeles to Tokyo in about 90 minutes. Despite that tantalizing promise, the X-51A Waverider’s experimental engines are still years away from reaching consumer markets.
This isn’t the X-51A Waverider’s first flight, but it will be its longest. The Waverider first cracked hypersonic speeds in 2010, traveling at hypersonic speeds for just 200 seconds after being dropped by a B-52 bomber. Tuesday’s flight is expected to jump that burn up to 300 seconds before the craft breaks up and crashes into the ocean.
- Key Test Tuesday For Hypersonic Flight (wnyc.org)
- You: Key test set for sustained hypersonic flight (latimes.com)
- This US Military Test Aircraft Can Hit Mach 6 and Jet From London to New York in an Hour (gizmodo.co.uk)
- Air Force Wants Hypersonic Missiles for Stealth Jets and the Russians are Concerned (nextbigfuture.com)
- Mach Six Flight The Longest Ever (patspapers.com)