X-51 WaveRider Fails To Reach Mach 6 in Test
During the first flight of an X-51A in 2010, the craft was able to reach around five times the speed of sound for three minutes. Yesterday, the Air Force along with DARPA, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne tried to test the X-51A Waverider at Mach 6, or 3,600 mph for 300 seconds. After being dropped by a B-52 bomber off the Southern California coast on Tuesday it appears that things went wrong with a control fin that kept the scramjet engine from starting and X-51A was lost at sea. The bad news for all is that there is only one X-51A vehicle left for testing. The Air Force has not decided whether it will fly and due to budget cuts it is possible that the program could be on the chopping block. I hope that they find some more funding as hypersonic passenger planes would be amazing! You can learn more about the X51-A at this Boeing website.
The X-51 safely separated from the B-52 and the rocket booster fired as planned. However after 16 seconds, a fault was identified with one of the cruiser control fins. Once the X-51 separated from the rocket booster, approximately 15 seconds later, the cruiser was not able to maintain control due to the faulty control fin and was lost.
Posted by | Wed, Aug 15, 2012 - 04:19 PM