Boeing reported the first flight of the X-48C blended wing body (BWB) research aircraft at Edwards AFB on August 7. The unmanned 8.5-percent scale model reached 5,500 feet during a nine-minute flight. A week later, however, the company’s third X-51 Waverider hypersonic testbed flight ended in failure when its scramjet failed to ignite.
Single stage to orbit
UK-based Reaction Engines has carried out a series of tests on a key component for its new engine, the Sabre, which is capable of operating as both a jet and a rocket engine by employing a translating intake. The novel feature will enable the aircraft–such as the Skylon reusable spaceplane–that the Sabre will power to fly anywhere on earth in less than four hours or directly into space and back to deliver satellites or cargo.
A second test flight of the X-51A WaveRider has not gone according to plan. Successfully dropped from the left wing of a B-52H Stratofortress, and then accelerated to over Mach 5 by a solid rocket booster, the unmanned, scramjet-powered, hypersonic vehicle crashed in the Pacific Ocean off Point Mugu NAS, Calif. on June 13
On Monday at the Paris Air Show, HyperMach Aerospace Industries plans to unveil a “next generation” supersonic business jet (SSBJ) that can fly from Paris to New York in 1 hour 45 minutes.