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Second test for the Boeing X-51

Boeing has announced that the second flight of the X-51 hypersonic Waverider is planned for the week of 13 June. The first flight of the revolutionary scramjet, on 26 May, 2010, was hailed as a technological leap.

The X-51 was the first hypersonic vehicle to fly using conventional hydrocarbon gas instead of more exotic fuels. The vehicle was able to actively circulate fuel to dissipate heat, a major concern of hypersonic flight. The scramjet engine burned for 140s, half its intended burn, before an engine seal failure.

boeing x-51 waverider

The X-51 is a pilot free hypersonic plane capable of reaching Mach 7. The X-51 Waveride will be launched from a B-52 bomber, then detach and reach Mach 4.7, then accelerate to more than Mach 6. The prototype, which is 4m long, represents the future of military aviation. Boeing got rid of the weakest link, which is the pilot, who would be totally unable to sustain the G force generated in maneuvers at such speeds. The X-51 has a new cooling system, as the nose will reach a temperature of 1480 degrees… that’s hot!

boeing x-51 waverider



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