OUR N E W   W E B   S I T E   "WORLD AIR FORCE NEWS"
 
  
 
 

WORLD AIR WAR HISTORY


 
  HOME > Space Technology News >

USAF X-51A Waverider Achieves Hypersonic Goal On Final Flight

USAF X-51A Waverider Achieves Hypersonic Goal On Final Flight

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Boeing X-51A Waverider demonstrator successfully achieved sustained, scramjet-powered, air-breathing hypersonic flight above Mach 5 in its final test flight on May 1.

Although the Air Force is not yet commenting on details of the flight, the X-51A is thought to have experienced positive acceleration to speeds in excess of Mach 5 and run for the full duration of the planned powered phase of the test. Based on targets established for the previous test attempt, this could have been as long as 300 sec., followed by an unpowered gliding descent of around 500 sec. prior to impacting the sea in the Pacific Test range west of California. If these times and speeds are confirmed, they will represent new records for sustained, air-breathing hypersonic flight.

The X-51A is intended to prove the viability of a free-flying, scramjet-powered vehicle and is considered an essential building block toward the long-anticipated development of hypersonic weapons and other high-speed platforms. However, despite the partial success of the first flight, which reached Mach 4.88 under scramjet power in May 2010, that mission ended prematurely after a malfunction, as did the second flight in March 2011 and third in August 2012.

Coming in the wake of these disappointing prior tests, the success of the May 1 flight could therefore be pivotal in helping drive further research and development to meet the Air Force’s long-term goal of hypersonic capability. The test involved the last of the four vehicles to be built by Boeing and configured with a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne SJX61 dual-mode ramjet/scramjet engine, and incorporated improvements and lessons learned from the three former flights.

These included better sealing between interfaces in the engine flow-path that are thought to have suffered “burn-through” on the first flight, allowing hot gases to penetrate the vehicle’s interior and prematurely ending the flight. Additionally, it incorporated hardware and software changes to counter issues that brought the second flight to a premature end after only 9.5 sec. of powered flight at around Mach 5. On this flight, the vehicle experienced an inlet un-start during the switch to hydrocarbon fuel, effectively blocking flow through the engine and shutting it down. Finally, the mission also included changes to the hypersonic cruiser’s control fins, one of which failed on the third mission, causing it to go out of control only 16 sec. into the test while still under boost.

For the final test, as with previous missions, the X-51A, attached to a modified Atacms missile booster, was launched from a B-52H mother ship over the Pacific. The stack separated from the B-52 and the booster fired as planned before the Atacms burned out and detached, and the scramjet ignited.


Source: By Guy Norris, AWIN First News - 2 May 2013

Photo: The U.S. Air Force X-51A Waverider Fighter Aircraft (Photo by USAF)


(2.5.2013)


 
  CONTINENTAL NEWS:

American Air Force News
African Air Force News
Asian Air Force News
European Air Force News
Middle Eastern AF News
Ocean Air Force News


• Boeing Invests in Commercial UAS Services Provider Robotic Skies

(4.6.2019)
Startup manages maintenance, inspection and alteration services for global manufacturers and operators of commercial unmanned aircraft systems....>>

• Russia Wants Answers From NASA About Alcohol Smell on ISS After Dragon Docking

(16.5.2019)
Last month, outside observers marked concerns with SpaceX's Dragon 2 programme after one of the crew capsules unexpectedly exploded during a static fire test....>>

• USAF test launches 2nd ICBM this month

(10.5.2019)
The U.S. Air Force has launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile from California in the second such test this month. A Minutemen 3 missile roared out of a silo at Vand...>>

• USAF Welcomes Fifth Lockheed Martin-Built AEHF Satellite To Cape Canaveral For June Launch

(9.5.2019)
AEHF-5 Satellite Increases Resiliency of Global Protected Communications Constellation...>>

• Airbus and Ursa to continue partnership on use of radar satellite data

(14.11.2018)
Airbus Defence and Space will continue to provide access to its radar satellite data to Ursa Space Systems (Ursa), a data fusion and analytics company. Both parties signed a new fo...>>

• NASA posts photo of crashed ‘flying saucer from outer space’

(7.11.2018)
A “flying saucer” crash landed in a Utah desert 14 years ago and now NASA is sharing pictures for the first time....>>

• Raytheon to supply Romania with missile defense systems

(2.11.2018)
U.S. Army has signed a deal to supply the Romanian government with three Raytheon defense systems....>>

 



       info@xairforces.net Webmaster: REFLX DESIGN - © 2011 xairforces / Aviation Society,