Can you hear me now? At Mach 6 it matters

When a test flight lasts only minutes and ends in a fiery plunge into the ocean, you want to make sure the radios work – to ensure telemetry data is safely sent to the ground. So Boeing is testing the antennas for the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s X-51A Scramjet-Waverider hypersonic demonstrator in the anechoic chamber at Edwards AFB.

Powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne scramjet that uses the fuel to cool itself, the first X-51A is scheduled to fly in August 2009 – dropped from a B-52 50,000ft over the Pacific, boosted to Mach 4.7, where the scramjet will light and run for 5min, accelerating the vehicle to Mach 6.7 before the tanks run dry and it plunges into the ocean. Those radios had better work.


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2 Responses to Can you hear me now? At Mach 6 it matters

  1. Scott Ferrin 10 February, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    Hopefully it does better than HyFly which failed it’s 2nd (and apparently LAST) flight.

  2. the woracle 11 February, 2008 at 10:39 pm #

    Indeed it did. Thanks for the tip-off

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