Presentation on theme: "AEROSPACE 410 AEROSPACE PROPULSION Lecture HYPER X X-43 project NASA SCRAM-JET TESTS Using a rocket booster from ORBITAL SCIENCES INC. Dr. Cengiz Camci."— Presentation transcript:
NASA's X-43 Could Some Day Chase Mach 10 CAPE CANAVERAL An experimental aircraft expected to fly 10 times the speed of sound is set to begin tests next month above the Pacific Ocean. If it works, NASA could finally have the blueprint for a spacecraft that takes off and lands like an airplane.
SCRAMJET is development the same kind of shift as the jet engine over the propeller engine, " Hyper-X Program Manager Vince Rausch said Wednesday. The 12-foot- long shovel-shaped aircraft relies on a revolutionary engine called a scramjet for its hypersonic speed. Instead of using a rotating compressor to compress air, the aircraft's high speed forces air into the engine where it is mixed with fuel and burned. A scramjet uses the surrounding air instead of carrying its own oxidizer like the space shuttle and other rockets. This saves tremendous weight while still allowing the speed necessary to reach orbit.
The scramjet has no moving parts, but only works at very high speeds. By comparison, the record-setting X-15 rocket plane reached almost Mach 7 in the 1960s. The unmanned X-43 will not start its engine until it hits Mach 7. To get there, it will ride a winged Pegasus rocket dropped from a B-52. NASA used the same B-52 to drop manned X-15s, which held speed records until the space shuttle flew in 1981. The $185 million X-43 program will fly three tests this year, each with a different aircraft. The first will be a 10-second scramjet burn at Mach 7 followed by a fast glide and splashdown in the Pacific. The last is targeted to reach Mach 10, or more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) a second.
Once launched, the X-43A was designed to then fire its specialized engine -- called a scramjet -- and fly under its own power for 10 seconds, covering about 17 miles. It will then coast to an impact in the water. NASA had hoped the plane would reach speeds Approaching Mach 7 during its fleeting flight, besting the Mach 6.7 record set by the rocket-powered X-15 in 1967.