Scramjet Test Flight: Aircraft That Can Travel New York To London In One Hour Gets Practice Run
A scramjet test flight has been planned for an airplane designed by the US military that reportedly can travel from New York to London in just around one hour.
The experimental aircraft could be the future of long haul flights and uses a revolutionary system to achieve the seemingly impossible speeds, the Daily Mail reported. The aircraft uses what is known as a “scramjet” engine that pushes it to hypersonic speeds by riding its own shockwave.
The new approach will allow the scramjet test flight to reach speeds of Mach 6. The X-51A Waverider is set to be tested by the US military this week when it will be dropped from a B52 bomber and flown for 300 seconds.
Scramjets work by carrying only hydrogen fuel instead of both fuel and oxygen and then pulling in the necessary oxygen from the atmosphere, the Daily Mail explained.
The air forced into the front of the engine and hydrogen injected into the airstream, creating a gas compression that raises temperatures and causes ignition. This generates huge amounts of thrust and allows the jet to travel well faster than the 1,350 mph top speed of the Concord, the Daily Mail reported.
The WaveRider program, which costs an estimated $140 million, is funded by NASA and the Pentagon. The government hopes it can be one day used for military stealth aircraft.
The X-51A Waverider had already made a successful 200 second test flight off the Southern California coast in 2010, Edwards Air Force Base noted. That flight topped the previous scramjet test flight of 12 seconds and reached speeds of Mach 5.
If the 300-second scramjet test flight is a success, the aircraft could soon be making New York to London trips in under on hour.
Would you fly on a scramjet if you could travel from London to New York in just an hour?