The military’s new wingless plane is set to make its first hypersonic test flight Tuesday, after it is released from a B-52 bomber off the California coast.
The X-51A WaveRider, which sort of resembles a shark, will fly for about five minutes, powered by a scramjet engine. It should reach about Mach 6 and transmit data to ground stations before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, according to the Air Force Research Laboratory.
DARPA's hypersonic glider, which launched last Thursday, evidently failed at some point during its mach-20 maneuvers. The vehicle's signal was lost just nine minutes into the mission, according to the Santa Maria Times.
Future space marines might commemorate yesterday as a historic moment, based on the coinciding launches of DARPA's hypersonic glider and an Air Force space plane. Both test vehicles could pave the way for new warfighter transports or weapons systems, the Ares Defense Blog reports.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.