Wednesday, May 26, 2010
X-51 test rescheduled for today
The test for the X-51 WaveRider was postponed yesterday when a surface vessel crossed into the splashdown zone. The test has been rescheduled for today.
The scramjet is a fascinating technology, capable of achieving incredible sub-orbital speeds by avoiding some of the problems encountered by conventional jet engines at high velocity. Interestingly, though, the physics of the scramjet rely on traveling at a high speed, which means that there is a minimum velocity at which it can operate. To overcome this, the scramjet is carried aloft by an aircraft (a B-52, in this case), launched on the front of a rocket booster, and then engaged only when it achieves a speed around Mach 4.5 . This complicated procedure has led some critics to question the feasibility of its application in the real world.
Stay tuned for updates.