Under NASA's Hyper-X research vehicle program, the X-43A vehicle powered by an
air-breathing Supersonic Combustion Ramjet or Scramjet engine flew close to Mach
10 (7,200 miles per hour or 11,500 kph) for over 10 seconds on November 16,
2004. Mach 10 means ten times de speed of sound. Flight endurance must be kept
short because air rubbing at high speeds involves intense heat generation which
can melt X-43's airframe.
flight took place in restricted airspace over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Los
Angeles at an altitude of approximately 110,000 feet or 33,500 meters. This
flight was the last in a series of three unpiloted flight tests carried out
under Hyper-X program. Hyper-X is aimed at studying air-breathing technology as
an alternative to current rocket power for space access vehicles.
Supersonic Combustion Ramjets, Scramjets, promise more airplane-like operations
for increased affordability, flexibility and safety in ultra-high speed flights
within the atmosphere and for the first stage to Earth orbit. The Scramjet
engines has no moving parts and compresses the air passing through it to ignite
the fuel. These engines can be throttled back, reducing power output, allowing a
scramjet-powered vehicle to fly more like an aircraft. Rocket engines produce
full or near full power all the time, making extremely difficult to maneuver the
The 12.3 feet (3.75 meters) long attached to a Pegasus booster was released over
the Pacific coast from a modified B-52 heavyweight bomber at 40,000 feet of
altitude after liftoff from Edwards Air Force Base, California. Pegasus booster
rocket ignited accelerating to up to Mach 4 (see picture above). Then the
scramjet-powered X-43A vehicle was engaged accelerating to Mach 10 at an
altitude of 110,000 feet. Unlike rocket motors, air-breathing scramjet engines
don't need oxygen tanks. NASA has predicted that future Scramjet-powered
vehicles might travel as fast as Mach 15.
Promising air-breathing engines technology could lead to development of global
strike aircraft (HCV), long range cruise missiles (HyFly), and ultra-fast
commercial aircraft that could fly intercontinental routes, typically requiring
10 hours, in less than one hour.
Copyright © 2003-2017 deagel.com website. All rights reserved.