Tag Archives: hypersonic flight

Stratolaunch considering launching hypersonic rocket tests from its Roc airplane

Capitalism in space: Stratolaunch is now considering building and launching hypersonic rocket test program using its giant Roc airplane.

In the concept study presented this week, Corda and his colleagues provide a detailed description of a delta-wing testbed plane called the Hyper-Z. It would be 83.4 feet long, with a wingspan of 32.4 feet and a launch weight of about 65,000 pounds.

Stratolaunch’s hydrogen-fueled PGA rocket engine would serve as the plane’s main propulsion system, but it could also be equipped with an air-breathing propulsion system, such as a scramjet engine. The flight profiles could accommodate a maximum speed of Mach 11, or a maximum altitude of 477,000 feet.

Hyper-Z would be launched from Stratolaunch’s mammoth twin-fuselage carrier airplane [Roc], which has a record-setting wingspan of 385 feet.

I must emphasize that this is only a concept proposal at this point. The company still has to verify the operation of Roc.

What this proposal does suggest to me is that the company is still struggling to find a profitable use for Roc, and customers to go along with it. This concept appears to be a lobbying effort to both the military and NASA, offering them Roc as a testbed for such flight tests.

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Air Force hypersonic test ends in failure

The second test flight in an Air Force program to research hypersonic flight failed when its booster rocket was intentionally destroyed for safety reasons immediately after launch.

It was the second test of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, a program managed by U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command to develop a conventional deep-strike munition that travels through the atmosphere on a nonballistic trajectory. In its first flight, the vehicle lifted off from Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii and flew a nonballistic, glide trajectory at hypersonic speeds toward the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll — some 4,000 kilometers away — where it arrived about 30 minutes later.

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After four tries the Air Force X-51A Waverider test craft finally succeeded in achieving sustained, scramjet-powered, air-breathing hypersonic flight above Mach 5 in its final test flight on May 1.

After four tries the Air Force X-51A Waverider test craft finally succeeded in achieving sustained, scramjet-powered, air-breathing hypersonic flight above Mach 5 in its final test flight on May 1.

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The Air Force has released its investigation into the failure of the August test flight of the X-51a hypersonic scramjet.

The Air Force has released its investigation into the failure of the August test flight of the X-51a hypersonic scramjet.

As first surmised, the problem was a control fin. Though they haven’t set the date for the next test flight, it appears they do intend to proceed.

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A test flight of an Air Force hypersonic aircraft failed yesterday when it went out of control before its experimental scramjet engine could be started

A test flight of an Air Force hypersonic aircraft failed yesterday when it went out of control before its experimental scramjet engine could be started.

Though failures during engineering tests are not really failures, as the goal is to find out if the engineering works or doesn’t, this particular failure is a bit more like a real failure. They never got to test the scramjet engine, which was the point of the entire flight. Instead, they had a failure of a control fin on the aircraft, and it appears that this fin was “faulty.” Not a good sign, especially as the previous flight in June 2011 also failed prematurely.

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Some questions about today’s hypersonic test flight

Here are some additional stories describing today’s test flight of the Hypersonic Test Vehicle.

I have several questions, and no answers:

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