US Military plans test flight for hypersonic WaveRider
The WaveRider has been built around the scramjet engine and named so because it uses lift from its own shock waves to stay in air. Officially known as the X-51, the aircraft is fast on its way to trials, where it is expected to achieve speeds as high as Mach 6 while running solely on ordinary jet fuel. Success of the $246.5 million program could have a profound impact on space vehicles and missiles. They could potentially do away with oxidizers and have more space available for payload or cargo.
Engine of the X-51 is made of standard nickel alloy and cooled by its own fuel. For the test flight, a B-52 Bomber will take the craft to an altitude of 50,000 feet. Once released at that altitude, solid-rocket boosters will take it to Mach 4.8. The aircraft’s engine will take over at this point and propel it to Mach 6 during the five-minute flight. The first test will be over the Pacific in October this year.