Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hypersonic Transports: Not Yet, But They're Coming

"New Hypersonic Rocket Test Launched in Australia"
Space.com (March 26, 2010)

"Australian and United States military scientists test launched a new hypersonic rocket this week, the latest in a string of demonstration flights aimed at developing ultra-fast supersonic aircraft.

"The test rocket streaked through the atmosphere at speeds of greater than Mach 5.5, which is equivalent to more than five times the speed of sound.

"The flight marked the second in a series of up to 10 planned flights designed to advance research on high-speed flights and hypersonic technology, said Greg Combet, Australia's Minister for Defense Personnel, Material and Science, in a Monday statement. An earlier test was performed last May...."

The idea is to eventually design and build vehicles that can fly at hypersonic speeds for extended periods of time. There's no reason, in theory, why we shouldn't be able to do that. There are fairly big engineering issues to work out - but that's being done now.

Eventually, something like what's shown in this animation might be as routine as transoceanic airline flights are today:

"Skylon Mission Animation"

deanfilip YouTube (February 07, 2009)
Credits: Reaction Engines Ltd.
video (8:17)
(embedded in "Skylon: Spaceplane for 2019" (March 12, 2009))

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