Science & Technology
Aircraft sets hypersonic record at Mach 6
By T.K. Randall
May 28, 2010 · 14 comments
Image Credit: USAF
The X-51A Waverider has set a new hypersonic flight time record at six times the speed of sound.
The scramjet flew at Mach 6 for over three minutes, completely annihilating the previous record of 12 seconds. Program manager Charlie Brink stated "We equate this leap in engine technology as equivalent to the post-World War II jump from propeller-driven aircraft to jet engines."
The X-51A Waverider was released from a B-52 Stratofortress off the southern California coast and its scramjet engine accelerated the aircraft to Mach 6, and it flew autonomously for 200 seconds before losing acceleration. At that point the test was terminated.
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