Skip to comments.US Air Force scramjet test sees Spaceships in future
Posted on 06/18/2010 9:25:10 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
A recent United States Air Force scramjet test has hinted at a future where hypersonic vehicles streak through the sky at many times the speed of sound around the world, and perhaps even open up access to space.
The experimental X-51A Waverider used a rocket booster and an air-breathing scramjet to reach a speed of Mach 5 and achieve the longest hypersonic flight ever powered by such an engine on May 26. That technology might not only deliver cargo quickly to different parts of the globe, but could also transform the space industry and spawn true space planes that take off and land from the same runway.
The wealth of possibilities offered by aerospace vehicles that can ride their own shockwaves likely explains why the project has drawn support from the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), NASA, and the U.S. Navy.
"We could have in the future such things as hypersonic weapons that fly 600 nautical miles in 10 minutes," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, during a June 1 teleconference. [Most destructive space weapon concepts.]
Scramjet engines can also eliminate the need for much of the huge oxidizer tanks carried by rockets, because the engines capture oxygen from the air to mix with the fuel while moving at hypersonic speeds. That would permit future space-lift systems or space planes to carry greater payloads and operate more efficiently, Brink said.
(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...
Only problem I see with these scramjet powered craft is that you have to be doing Mach 4.5 just to get the engines lit.
That requires an extremely long runway.
Dr. Eugen Sanger was working on the same concept in the 1940s. You are correct. I would like to give you an alternate. Why not a sled to carry the craft to power by conventional rockets then its release it using its own power in space
You use a jet to carry the plane to a high altitude and then drop it. The dive will produce speeds up to 4.5 Mach and then the scramjet engines kick in.
Use a railgun.
Sounds like a great technological advancement The Regime will cancel to focus on more important things... like Cap-n-Tax.
That would be better than the sled.
That picture reminds of an idea I had about firing a rocket propelled plug into the Deepwater Horizon wellbore.
The ultimate hybrid: It will have jet engines to get it off the ground, rockets to kick it up to mach 4.5, scramjets to take over from there and get it up to mach 8 and out into space, and perhaps additional rockets to maneuver around in space and reenter. And I thought automobile hybrids were a little Rube Goldbergish.
I like Fireball XL-5. True, that is one way to do it. Do not forget the strings
Enjoyed the article immensely! Thanks for the link!
A long enough magnetic rail might do the trick, although any passengers could get turned into jello at 30 G’s.
Glad you enjoyed it. Wish I could find “A Spaceship Named Orion”, cause it was just as good!
I love Air & Space magazine. Used to devour them cover to cover when I was younger!
SG1 had the concept what you are talking about..