Feeds

NASA jet to hit Mach 10

Forget flying cars, we want a piece of this

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Any colour you like as long as it's black


NASA will take a step closer to viable hypersonic air travel when it tests its scramjet-powered X43A.

NASA hopes that the project will successfully overcome the great technological hurdle for such vehicles - how to accelerate to greater than Mach 5 (approx. 3,600mph at sea level) without using rocket motors.

The scramjet uses atmospheric oxygen, thereby avoiding the need for bulky - and heavy - oxygen tanks. It has no turbine or moving parts, but rather relies on forward motion and the aircraft's design to compress air into the combustion chamber where it is mixed with hydrogen and ignited.

The prototype pilotless X-43A and its Pegasus booster rocket will be dropped from a B-52. Once the Pegasus has blasted the vehicle to Mach 7, the X-43 will continue its journey under its own steam.

According to NASA's blurb: "Three flights are planned - two at Mach 7 and one at Mach 10. The flight tests will be conducted within the Western Test Range off the coast of southern California. The flights will terminate in the Pacific Ocean and the vehicles will not be recovered."

Although the X-43A programme is aimed at providing cheap, reuseable space vehicles, it does offer the delicious prospect of hypersonic civilian aircraft.

If NASA can pull it off - and at the same time deal once and for with obstreperous French air traffic controllers and striking baggage handlers - the result could be a civil aviation revolution.

Indeed, Vulture Central boffins have calculated that the average Reg hack's two hour slog into work - courtesy of the London Underground - could be reduced to as little as five seconds. Impressive stuff. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Chris Fulstow for keeping a watch on the skies for us.

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.