Hypersonic Scramjet ready to Go?

Posted by Mike Kremer on Feb 16, 2004 at 15:50

I heard a wisper that NASA is to test its X43A
demonstration Scramjet this weekend (21st Feb) for its second test flight.
Its capable of reaching Mach7 (4900 mph). If successful, a third Hyper X flight will try to reach Mach 10.
NASA is currently spending $230million, on this research prog, with more to follow.
Scramjet engines have no moving parts at all, and carry no conventional fuel, apart from Hydrogen.
Their sheer initial speed rams in rarified air in the front, which gets compressed by travelling down a cone of decreasing diameter. Then hydrogen is injected, and ignited,.....result 5000mph !!
The X43A's initial speed is aquired by taking it up by a B52 bomber to 40,000 ft when it is released into a free fall dive. If all goes well the engine will ignite, to push the Scramjet up to twice its original height. Hopefully the pilotless plane will travel 400 miles, eventually crashing into the pacific ocean.
**I wonder if NASA has an ulterior motive in testing for these super high speeds. It cant be for flying people to the otherside of the world in less than two hours can it?

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