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NASA Transportation Science

NASA Testing Supersonic X-51A Jet Tomorrow 214

First time accepted submitter littlesparkvt writes "The NASA and the Pentagon's experimental aircraft could go from NY to London in about an hour. With a cost of 140 million dollars USD. During the test the X51-A will reach speeds of 1700 meters a second and climb to an altitude of 70,000 feet."
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NASA Testing Supersonic X-51A Jet Tomorrow

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  • Cost (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hydrated Wombat ( 1314267 ) on Monday August 13, 2012 @08:32PM (#40979515)
    Still costs less than a F22 Raptor []
    • by gagol ( 583737 )
      Add the radars, armoring, weapons and maintenance cost of a fleet and we have comparable figures.
      • Re:Cost (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @02:04AM (#40981517) Journal

        Or you could compare it to something similar:

        The original University of Queensland's HyShot hypersonic tests were done for less than $2 million. Even better well-funded followup flights were around $4.5 million. []

    • Re:Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 13, 2012 @08:38PM (#40979597)

      Still costs less than a F22 Raptor []

      That's probably because the F-22 is an operational aircraft capable of take-off/landing under its own power and houses a human pilot (among many other things).

    • Re:Cost (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bolthole ( 122186 ) on Monday August 13, 2012 @08:50PM (#40979747) Journal
      UNLIKE the f22- raptor, though, this is basically an "unmanned vehicle". The title implies "jet aircraft" )ie: passenger vehicle) to most people, but in reality, this is not much more than "an oversized, air-launched missile".

      Which makes it sadly way less interesting

    • Yes but does an F22 go 6 million miles an hour like the X 51-A? That's what the article said, 1,700 miles /second * 60 seconds / minute * 60 = 6,120,000 miles / hour! Well perhaps the author, William, was metric impaired and mistook 1,700 meters / sec for miles / second; which works out to 1700 m/S / 1.609.34 m/mi = 1.05 mi/ S * 3600S/hr = 3,802.80 I did notice when you type mach 5 into a google search it replys "mach 5 = 1 701.45 m / s"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pretty sure it won't go 1700 miles per second

  • by stox ( 131684 )

    That would be 6.12 MILLION miles per hour. Somehow, I doubt that.

    • by Sparkio ( 944072 ) on Monday August 13, 2012 @08:42PM (#40979647) Homepage
      Mach 5 = 1,701.45 m / s... still pretty crazy fast - LA to NY in ~42 minutes - but no, not LA to NY in 2 seconds. Methinks someone plugged it into google and thought 'hey, m must mean miles, right?'
      • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Monday August 13, 2012 @08:58PM (#40979833) Journal

        Mach 5 = 1,701.45 m / s

        Yup. m = miles, s = seconds. That's 1700 miles per second.

        I mean, what else could m possibly stand for? There's only one unit of measurement that starts with the letter 'm'...

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by stepho-wrs ( 2603473 )
          1,701.45 big Macs per second.
    • The Libyans will never catch you

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      what really doubts me is actual use of a speedy jet for passenger travel. by the time you get through TSA, someone who were to swim the Atlantic will get there before you do. but then X51A is a hellava missile, awesome weapon system to further bankrupt this country.
  • by gaspar ilom ( 859751 ) on Monday August 13, 2012 @08:35PM (#40979549)

    > 1700 miles a second

    This is obviously a mis-print, right?

  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday August 13, 2012 @08:35PM (#40979559) here []

  • Surely that's more likely 1700 m/s (meters per second), not miles per second. Though if the latter, sign me up for a test ride!

    • Surely that's more likely 1700 m/s (meters per second), not miles per second. Though if the latter, sign me up for a test ride!

      Well, what if it were 10,221,904.1 furlongs per fortnight? Would you sign up then?

  • by bjwest ( 14070 ) on Monday August 13, 2012 @09:36PM (#40980191)

    The Pentagon is using them to develop military projects like this. This is what the frigging Military Industrial Complex and DARPA are for. Leave NASA and they're limited and continuously dwindling funds for space research, or we're going to be left in the dust by China, India and the other space faring nations.

    Note: If this and projects like it are funded separately and outside of NASAs budget, then, never mind. Carry on...

    • Why do you think they dumped billions into NASA rocketry? Or the USSR did for that matter?

      Military -- The civilian stuff is just memetic misdirection to get you go go along with it.

      See also cars and highways.

    • by Bigby ( 659157 )

      Is NASA not the military?

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Monday August 13, 2012 @09:45PM (#40980249)

    When they add three more zeros to that speed. I wanna go to Alpha Centauri.

  • This is just a small test vehicle. It's to answer the question "How do we make a scramjet that actually works"? There have been scramjet projects since the 1950s, but only in the last 10 years has there been much success. The problems are huge.

    There's some hope that this might eventually lead to launch vehicles that are air-breathing up to Mach 15 or so, allowing a bigger payload fraction for the vehicle size. At one time, it was hoped this might bring down launch costs, but probably not.

    As a weapon sy

  • It can go from NY to London in an hour? Wow, it must have a big fuel tank and be really efficient.

  • Maybe the flight only takes one hour, but with the long, slow security check lines, the entire trip still takes a day.

    NASA should invent something that makes the TSA work faster.

    Or, even better, with Stealth technology, maybe they could make it disappear altogether?

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @02:22AM (#40981583) Homepage Journal

    Above Mach 5 or so you have to start considering different physics about the air flow.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain