The fastest - hypersonic X-43A

The fastest - hypersonic X-43A


Unmanned aircraft X-43A, which during testing showed a fantastic speed - 11230 km / h, which is 9,6 times the speed of sound today is the fastest aircraft in the world. Designers and engineers of NASA, Orbital Sciences Corporation, MicroCraft Inc., and others worked on the design and creation of X-43A. Work on the creation of the aircraft continued over 10 years and included research in the field of supersonic air-jet ramjet engines capable of accelerating the aircraft to hypersonic speeds. The cost of the work is estimated at $ 250 million.


The purpose of the development of the fastest aircraft in the world is to test the latest technology, which is a hypersonic alternative to the current turbojet engines. According to scientists, in the future, created on the basis of technology hypersonic aircraft will be able to reach any point on the planet in just 3-4 hours.

After the cancellation of the NASP program 1984 in November, which was aimed at creating the X-30 trans-atmospheric apparatus, the question was raised about continuing research on hypersonic speeds. The new program Hyper-X provided for the development of NASP technology, demonstrating in practice the work of a hypersonic air-jet ramjet engine (scramjet).

Initially it was planned that the X-43A should surpass the X-15 rocket plane, which developed the speed M = 1967 in the 6,7 year, not only in terms of speed characteristics. The main advantage of the scramjet before the usual rocket engine is the use of atmospheric air as an oxidizing agent, which allows a significant increase in engine operating time. The X-43 is an unmanned aircraft that is 3,66 meters in length and weighs about a kilogram of 1270. As an accelerator, a Pegasus solid-fuel rocket is used, which starts from NB-52B. The test program is scheduled to perform 2 flight at a speed of M = 7, and the third at a speed of M = 10.

The first launch of the experienced X-43A took place as scheduled - 2 June 2001 of the year, but NASA specialists were forced to destroy X-43A, as well as a rocket, after they were out of control. Surveillance cameras installed onboard the two accompanying F-18 fighters recorded problems in the Pegasus missile guidance system immediately after a few seconds after its launch from B-52. After the problems were discovered, the rocket, and with it the prototype X-43A, were destroyed. The resulting debris collapsed into the Pacific Ocean.

The first successful tests of X-43A were carried out on 27 in March of 2004. It was possible to achieve maximum speed in M ​​= 7. 15 November 2004 g. X-43A set a new world speed record for aircrafts of this class, flying 800 kilometers over the territory of St. Nicholas Island located in the Pacific at a speed of M = 10 (this is 11000 km / h).

Hiper-X should serve as the basis for creating hypersonic units for various purposes - from combat strike aircraft to aerospace launch systems into space orbit. By 2016, it is possible to create the first hypersonic strike aircraft. By the 2030-2040 years, Boeing plans to create a hypersonic passenger liner. The passenger Hyper-X is supposed to be half the size of a modern airbus and it will have no windows. To protect passengers from significant overloads, they will make a special salon with artificially created high pressure.

Description X-43A
Developer - MicroCraft Inc.
Type - Experimental GL
Geometric and mass characteristics:
Wingspan - 1500 mm.
The length of the aircraft - 366 mm.
Height - 60 mm.
Starting weight - 1270 kg.
Power point:
Engine - scramjet.
The number of engines - 1.
Estimated flight performance:

Maximum speed at altitude, (M =) - 7700-11000 (7-10) km / h.
Flight ceiling - 30 km.
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