Waverider Gears Up for First Flight

The Air Force's X-51A Waverider is being readied for its first hypersonic test flight on Tuesday, May 25. If all goes well, the scramjet-powered vehicle will fly for five minutes and hit Mach 6 before coming down into the ocean off the California coast. Project engineers hope to collect lots of dat...

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Artist's conception: Wright Patterson AFB.


The Air Force's X-51A Waverider is being readied for its first hypersonic test flight on Tuesday, May 25. If all goes well, the scramjet-powered vehicle will fly for five minutes and hit Mach 6 before coming down into the ocean off the California coast. Project engineers hope to collect lots of data, while breaking the previous record for a scramjet flight, just 10 seconds, set by NASA's X-43 in 2004.


Update on the April 22 HTV-2 hypersonic test: No joy—the vehicle stopped transmitting data nine minutes into its flight.
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