The Warp Speed of Today: Boeing’s X-51A WaveRider
By Space Coast Daily // June 2, 2014
uses shock waves to add lift
ABOVE VIDEO: The X-51A Waverider is an unmanned scramjet-powered demonstration aircraft, capable of achieving hypersonic speeds five times the speed of sound. At that speed an aircraft could travel across the U.S. in under an hour.
The Boeing X-51 is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic flight testing.
It completed its first powered hypersonic flight on 26 May 2010. After two unsuccessful test flights, the X-51 completed a flight of over six minutes and reached speeds of over Mach 5 for 210 seconds on 1 May 2013 for the longest duration hypersonic flight.
The X-51 is named “WaveRider” because it uses its shock waves to add lift. The program is run as a cooperative effort of the United States Air Force, DARPA, NASA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
The program is managed by the Aerospace Systems Directorate within the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). X-51 technology will be used in the High Speed Strike Weapon (HSSW), a Mach 5+ missile planned to enter service in the mid-2020s.
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