SpaceShip Two reaching Mach 1.2 after power up its engine in flight for the first time!
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An X-51A Waverider flight test vehicle successfully made the longest ever supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight today off the Southern California coast. The more than 200-second burn by the X-51's Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne-built air breathing scramjet engine accelerated the vehicle to Mach 5. The previous longest scramjet burn in a flight test was 12 seconds in a NASA X-43. Even before sifting through volumes of telemetry data transmitted by the X-51, Air Force officials called the test, the first of four planned, an unqualified success. The flight is considered the first use of a practical hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet in flight. "We are ecstatic to have accomplished the most significant of our test points on the X-51A's very first hypersonic mission," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. "We equate this leap in engine technology as equivalent to the post-World War II jump from propeller-driven aircraft to jet engines." The X-51 departed about 10 a.m. from Edwards Air Force Base, carried aloft under the left wing of an Air Force Flight Test Center B-52H Stratofortress. Then, flying at 50,000 feet over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range, the Waverider was released. Four seconds later an Army Tactical Missile solid rocket booster accelerated the X-51 to about Mach 4.8 before it and a connecting interstage were jettisoned. The launch and separation were normal, Mr. Brink said. Then the X-51's SJY61 engine ignited, initially on a mix of ethylene, similar to lighter fluid, and JP-7 jet fuel then exclusively on JP-7, the same fuel that once powered the SR-71 Blackbird before its retirement. The flight reached an altitude of about 70,000 feet and a peak speed of Mach 5.
The F-15 eagles are a firm favourite with aviation fans in Wales. Great to video and photograph, really majestic fighters. This video also shows the lakenheath base, were there is a really good viewing area.
The North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie was the prototype version of the proposed B-70 nuclear-armed deep penetration bomber for the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command. Designed in the late 1950s, the Valkyrie was a large six-engined aircraft able to fly at beyond Mach 3 at an altitude of 70,000 ft (21,000 m), which would have allowed it to avoid interceptors, the only effective anti-bomber weapon at the time. Two XB-70 prototypes were built for the U.S. Air Force. The aircraft program's high development costs, and changes in the technological environment with the introduction of effective high-altitude anti-aircraft missiles, led to the cancellation of the B-70 program in 1961. Although the proposed fleet of operational B-70 bombers was never built, the XB-70A aircraft were used in supersonic test flights from 1964 to 1969, performing research for the design of large supersonic aircraft. One prototype crashed following a midair collision in 1966; the other is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio. The XB-70 was designed to be a high-altitude bomber-sized Mach 3 experimental aircraft with six engines. Harrison Storms shaped the XB-70 with a canard surface and a delta wing, which was built largely of stainless steel, sandwiched honeycomb panels, and titanium. The XB-70 was designed to use supersonic technologies developed for the Mach 3 Navaho, as well as a modified form of the SM-64 Navaho's all-inertial guidance system. The XB-70 was equipped with six General Electric YJ93-GE-3 turbojet engines, designed to use JP6 jet fuel. The engine was stated to be in the "30,000-pound class", but actually produced 28,000 lbf (124.6 kN) with afterburner and 19,900 lbf (88 kN) without afterburner. The Valkyrie first became supersonic (Mach 1.1) on the third test flight on 12 October 1964, and flew above Mach 1 for 40 minutes during the following flight on 24 October. The wing tips were also lowered partially in this flight. XB-70 #1 surpassed Mach 3 on 14 October 1965 by reaching Mach 3.02 at 70,000 ft (21,300 m). Honeycomb panel deficiencies discovered on XB-70 #1 were almost completely solved on XB-70 #2, which first flew on 17 July 1965. On 3 January 1966, the second XB-70 attained a speed of Mach 3.05 while flying at 72,000 ft (21,900 m). XB-70 #2 reached a top speed of Mach 3.08 and maintained it 20 minutes on 12 April 1966. On 19 May 1966, XB-70 #2 reached Mach 3.06 and flew at Mach 3 for 32 minutes, covering 2,400 mi (3,840 km) in 91 minutes of total flight. The XB-70 flight test data and materials development aided the later B-1 Lancer supersonic bomber program, and, through intelligence, the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144. The development programs for numerous US military aircraft (B-70, SR-71, and U-2) led the Soviet Union to develop the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 interceptor.