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Mach 10 Attempt a Success

By Keith Cowing
November 16, 2004

16 November 2004:NASA’s X-43A Scramjet Breaks Speed Record

“NASA’s X-43A research vehicle screamed into the record books today, demonstrating an air-breathing engine can fly at nearly 10 times the speed of sound.”

16 November 2004: ATK and NASA Set the Pace With Record-Breaking X-43A Hypersonic Flight, ATK

“Future applications for hypersonic flight include precision time-critical strike weapons with significant stand off capability…”

Editor’s note: “precision time-critical strike weapons” ? Gee, I don’t recall seeing mention of such a spin-off in any of NASA’s X-43/HyperX publicity material …

15 November 2004: NASA X-43A Mach 10 Mission Scrubbed

“Another flight attempt will be made tomorrow. [Tuesday’s] launch window for the X-43A/Pegasus combination will be from 2-4 p.m., PST.”

12 November 2004: X-43A Mach 10 Flight on Schedule For Nov. 15

“The final flight of NASA’s X-43A hypersonic research aircraft is still on schedule for Monday afternoon, Nov. 15, weather permitting. The mission is intended to flight-validate the operation of the X-43A’s supersonic-combustion ramjet – or scramjet – engine at a record airspeed of almost Mach 10.”

Editor’s note: Now that NASA has demonstrated this marvelous envelope-shattering capability, what does it do? It cancels the X-43 program, of course. Talk about a wasted opportunity.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.