Spacecraft propulsion

July 14, 2014 - 8:10am
Supersonic business aircraft such as this concept from Spike Aerospace could  be carrying passengers on transoceanic routes within six to eight years.

After Sir Richard Branson launches the first passenger flight of his Virgin Galactic space venture, possibly later this year, he’s indicated that he will turn his attention to developing a supersonic commercial aircraft that can transit from New York to Tokyo (10,800 km; 5,800 nm) in “less than an hour.” He envisions an orbital aircraft, which could reach speeds up to 30,000 kph (16,200 knots).

November 8, 2013 - 10:40am

The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works revealed a hypersonic aircraft design that can take off and land conventionally using turbine-based combined-cycle engine technology. The company said it has been working with rocket propulsion specialists Aerojet for several years on the project, using company funds. Although the design could lead to a Mach 6 unmanned strike aircraft, Lockheed Martin has dubbed it the SR-72, after the company’s SR-71 Blackbird manned strategic reconnaissance aircraft that reached Mach 3 but was retired in 1997.

June 17, 2013 - 12:25am

A major breakthrough in heat exchanger technology has removed one of the greatest obstacles to development of an air-breathing rocket engine slated to enable spaceflight by the Skylon reusable spaceplane.

UK company Fine Tubes (Hall 2B E170) has managed to produce 2,000 kilometers of ultra-fine, lightweight nickel alloy tubing necessary to enable the heat exchangers at the heart of the new engine to cool airstreams from over 1000 degrees C to minus 150 degrees C in less than 1/100th of a second. The wall thickness of the tubing is half the diameter of a human hair.

August 17, 2012 - 10:42am
X-48C

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.

July 11, 2012 - 4:20pm

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.

November 12, 2011 - 8:37am
HyperMach SonicStar

HyperMach’s planned 20-seat supersonic business jet (SSBJ)–SonicStar–will be able to fly at speeds up to Mach 4.0, the company said on Friday. This is faster than the Mach 3.6 top speed announced when the V-tailed aircraft was first revealed at June’s Paris airshow.

July 1, 2011 - 6:51am
The diminutive, hypersonic X-51A, an unmanned, scramjet-powered aircraft, is ...

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

June 14, 2011 - 10:30am

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.

May 29, 2010 - 6:21am

The Boeing X-51A WaveRider hypersonic vehicle, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne scramjet engine, achieved aviation history this week by making the longest ever combustion ramjet-powered supersonic flight. During its first jaunt, the craft reached 70,000 feet and an approximate speed of Mach 5 on a 200-second flight over the Pacific Ocean on May 26 at 10 a.m. before it was purposely crashed into the water.

May 29, 2010 - 6:20am

The Boeing X-51A WaveRider hypersonic vehicle, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne scramjet engine, achieved aviation history this week by making the longest ever combustion ramjet-powered supersonic flight. During its first jaunt, the craft reached 70,000 feet and an approximate speed of Mach 5 on a 200-second flight over the Pacific Ocean on May 26 at 10 a.m. before it was purposely crashed into the water.

 
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