Mach 6 in Seconds – Scramjet will take you from London to New York in One Hour
In a hurry to get to your destination? The US military is testing an experimental aircraft that uses a revolutionary system to achieve seemingly impossible speeds, and could be the future of long haul flights.
The aircraft uses what is known as a “scramjet” engine that pushes it to hypersonic speeds by riding its own shockwave and reportedly can travel from New York to London in just around one hour… one freakin’ hour.
Scramjets work by carrying only hydrogen fuel instead of both fuel and oxygen, and then pulling in the necessary oxygen from the atmosphere.
The new approach will allow the scramjet test flight to reach speeds of Mach 6. The X-51A Waverider is set to be tested by the US military this week, as it will be dropped from a B52 bomber and flown for 300 seconds.
The WaveRider program is estimated to cost $140 million, according to Globalsecurity.org, a website for military policy research. It has had a mixed history, with previous tests being aborted after the engine stalled.
The latest test will see the craft freefall for four seconds over the Pacific before its booster rocket engine ignites and propels the nearly wingless aircraft for 30 seconds to about Mach 4.5, before being jettisoned.
Then the cruiser’s scramjet engine, notable because it has virtually no moving parts, ignites.
The WaveRider is expected to accelerate to about Mach 6 (4,500mph) as it climbs to nearly 70,000 feet. After 300 seconds of flight, the WaveRider is set to break up after splashing into the Pacific, as planned.
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