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US military to test new hypersonic aircraft

X-51A Waverider
User ID: 21900966
08/13/2012 06:50 PM
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US military to test new hypersonic aircraft
[link to www.dailymail.co.uk]

They will drop it over the Mojave Desert tomorrow.

Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/13/2012 06:57 PM
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Re: US military to test new hypersonic aircraft
12 Days
User ID: 13891428
United States
08/13/2012 06:58 PM
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Re: US military to test new hypersonic aircraft

Like many X- series aircraft, the X-15 was designed to be carried aloft, under the wing of a NASA B-52 mother ship, the Balls 8. Release took place at an altitude of about 8.5 miles (13.7 km) and a speed of about 805 kilometers per hour (500 mph).[5] The X-15 fuselage was long and cylindrical, with rear fairings that flattened its appearance, and thick, dorsal and ventral wedge-fin stabilizers. Parts of the fuselage were heat-resistant nickel alloy (Inconel-X 750).[4] The retractable landing gear comprised a nose-wheel carriage and two rear skis. The skis did not extend beyond the ventral fin, which required the pilot to jettison the lower fin (fitted with a parachute) just before landing.

The first X-15 flight was an unpowered test flight by Scott Crossfield, on 8 June 1959. Crossfield also piloted the first powered flight, on 17 September 1959, and his first flight with the XLR-99 rocket engine on 15 November 1960. Twelve test pilots flew the X-15. Among these were Neil Armstrong, later a NASA astronaut, and Joseph H. Engle, later a commander of NASA Space Shuttle test flights.

In a 1962 proposal, NASA considered using the B-52/X-15 as a launch platform for a Blue Scout rocket to place satellites up to 150 pounds into orbit.[12][13]

In July and August 1963, pilot Joseph A. Walker exceeded 100 km in altitude, joining NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts as the first human beings to cross that line on their way to outer space. The USAF awarded astronaut wings to anyone achieving an altitude of 50 miles (80 km) (80.5 km), while the FAI set the limit of space at 100 kilometers (62.1 mi).

On 15 November 1967, U.S. Air Force test pilot Major Michael J. Adams was killed during X-15 Flight 191 when the (X-15-3) entered a hypersonic spin while descending, then oscillated violently as aerodynamic forces increased after re-entry. As his aircraft's flight control system operated the control surfaces to their limits, acceleration built to 15 g vertical and 8.0 g lateral. The airframe broke apart at 60,000 ft (18,000 m) altitude, scattering the X-15's wreckage for 50 square miles (130 km2). On 8 June 2004, a monument was erected at the cockpit's locale, near Randsburg, California.[14] Major Adams was posthumously awarded Air Force astronaut wings for his final flight in X-15-3, which had reached and altitude of 81.1 km (50.4 mi, 266,000 ft). In 1991, Adams's name was added to the Astronaut Memorial.

The second X-15A was rebuilt after a landing accident. It was lengthened 2.4 feet (0.73 m), a pair of auxiliary fuel tanks attached underneath its fuselage and wings, and a complete heat-resistant ablative coating was added. Renamed the X-15A-2, this plane first flew on 28 June 1964, reaching a maximum speed of 7,274 km/hr (4,520 m.p.h., 2,021 m/sec). in October 1967, flown by William "Pete" Knight of the U.S. Air Force.
NB-52B takes off with an X-15

Five aircraft were used during the X-15 program: three X-15s planes and two B-52 Stratofortress bombers:

* X-15A-1 56-6670, 82 powered flights
* X-15A-2 56-6671, 53 powered flights
* X-15A-3 56-6672, 64 powered flights
* NB-52A 52-003 (retired in October 1969)
* NB-52B 52-008 (retired in November 2004)

A 200th flight over Nevada was first scheduled for 21 November 1968, to be flown by William "Pete" Knight. Numerous technical problems and outbreaks of bad weather delayed this proposed flight six times, it was permanently canceled on 20 December 1968. This X-15 was detached from the B - 52 and then put into indefinite storage. This X - 15 was later donated to the museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base for display.