November 10, 2004

Pushing the Mach 10 Envelope


With 'Scramjet,' NASA Shoots for Mach 10

They call it a "scramjet," an engine so blindingly fast that it could carry an airplane from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., in about 20 minutes -- or even quicker. So fast it could put satellites in space. So fast it could drop a cruise missile on an enemy target, almost like shooting a rifle.

Next week, NASA plans to break the aircraft speed record for the second time in 7 1/2 months by flying its rocket-assisted X-43A scramjet craft 110,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean at speeds close to Mach 10 -- about 7,200 mph, or 10 times the speed of sound....

About 50 miles off the California coast, the B-52 will drop the craft at an altitude of 40,000 feet. The booster rocket will ignite and bring the X-43A's speed close to Mach 10 at an altitude of 110,000 feet. At that point, controllers will fire two small pistons to jettison the rocket. Then they will open the cowl covering the X-43A's air intake and light the engine.

The Scramjet process explained @ How the Scramjet Works

Posted by Vanderleun at November 10, 2004 8:24 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

That is extraordinary.

Posted by: Scott R at November 10, 2004 8:39 AM

From what I have heard, that is nothing.

Posted by: FH at November 10, 2004 8:59 AM

Actually, I really can't say much, because much isn't known. All that I know is this: its called Aurora, and its supposed to be fast. And weird jet trails have been seen over Nevada Air Space for a few years now.

Posted by: FH at November 10, 2004 11:17 AM

I've heard about hyper-sonic planes using some kind of "deflection" technology to get around the heat buildup associated with high-speed travel.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at November 10, 2004 10:27 PM

PS...the "deflection" technology is the reason for the weird jet trails that have been reported.

I'd say more, but "they" are listening.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at November 10, 2004 10:30 PM

Ramjets leave a trace much like a smoke ring...
twixt a short stream. PUFF BAM PUFF BAM. I've
seen them for some time in NV. Scrams are
all BAM. No contrail at all. Too efficient.
And the tests have been too high for such to
be manifest. BAM and gone. Delete my saying

Posted by: Steel Turman at November 10, 2004 11:40 PM

I'm just pleased to see that you're linking to such an excellent, enlightened paper, one with the most perceptive and discerning of all editors, especially that Sunday Outlook section.

Posted by: Mrs. VdL at November 11, 2004 10:45 AM