United States Air Force Plans To Fly X-51A

X-51 A Scheduled To Fly TODAY!

WARBIRD RADIO – Weather permitting, United States Air Force officials say the X-51A Waverider will make it’s first hypersonic test flight (today) May 25th, 2010.  According to a news release, the X-51A will be carried to approximately 50,000 feet over Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center on the wing of a B-52.  Once released, a solid rocket booster will accelerate the X-51 to Mach 4.5.   At that point the cruiser’s scramjet engine will ignite and propel the Waverider to Mach 6 and nearly 70,000 feet.

The engine has virtually no moving parts and burns the same fuel (JP-7) once used by the SR-71 Blackbird.  If successful, today’s flight will be the third time the X-51 has flown; however, in each previous instance it has remained attached to the B-52’s wing.  Program officials say this will be the only hypersonic flight attempt this fiscal year.  Air Force officials went on to say the X-51A program is paving the way to hypersonic weapons and future access to space.

X-51 A Photo Gallery (Images Courtesy of the United States Air Force)

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