Unmanned US military hypersonic craft failed

Aug 15, 2012
In this July 17, 2009 photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, an X-51A WaveRider hypersonic flight test vehicle is uploaded to an Air Force Flight Test Center B-52 for fit testing at Edwards Air Force Base. Four scramjet-powered Waveriders were built for the Air Force. The Los Angeles Times says the unmanned X-51 WaveRider is expected to reach Mach 6 _ or about 3,600 mph _ Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, when it's dropped by a B-52 bomber and takes flight off the Southern California coast near Point Mugu. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Chad Bellay)

An unmanned experimental U.S. aircraft failed during an attempt to fly at six times the speed of sound in the latest setback for hypersonic flight.

The X-51A Waverider was designed to reach Mach 6, or 3,600 mph (5,800 kph), after being dropped by a B-52 bomber off the Southern California coast on Tuesday. Engineers hoped it would sustain its top speed for five minutes, twice as long as an X-51A has gone before.

But the Air Force said Wednesday that a faulty control fin prevented it from starting its exotic scramjet engine and it was lost.

"It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the scramjet engine," Charlie Brink of the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, said in a statement.

The Waverider successfully detached from the B-52 and fired the rocket booster as planned. Then its scramjet engine was supposed to take over as it attempted to climb to Mach 6. But that never happened. Fifteen seconds after separating from the rocket booster, the Waverider lost control, preventing a test of the scramjet engine.

"All our data showed we had created the right conditions for engine ignition and we were very hopeful to meet our test objectives," Brink said.

This undated US Air Force illustration shows the X-51A Waverider. A flight test of an experimental unmanned vehicle designed to fly at hypersonic speeds has ended in failure, the US Air Force said Wednesday.

The Pentagon has been testing hypersonic technologies in hopes of delivering strikes around the globe within minutes.

It was the latest failure for the Waverider program. A test flight last year ended prematurely with an X-15A trying to restart its engine until it plunged into the Pacific Ocean.

During the first flight of an X-51A in 2010, it reached near five times the speed of sound for three minutes.

There's only one X-51A vehicle left. The Air Force has not decided whether it will fly.

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ab3a
4.8 / 5 (4) Aug 15, 2012
It's not a failure as long as we learn what didn't work and why.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 15, 2012
That Anti-American Devil - Obama - is behind this. I know it, cause I read it on a right wing blog that is written by a Tea-Tard Neo-Nazi.

GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2012
It's not a failure as long as we learn what didn't work and why


I would say that it's not a failure as long as we learn how to make it work. This isn't a college science club project, this is the Department of Defense. If it can't deliver pain on our enemies then it was a failure.

Vendicar, they need to lock you up and study you. My local talk radio guy raised the issue of public safety versus individual rights last week. The question was: If you could identify someone ahead of time as being a likely danger to others, should you lock them up pre-emptively in order to prevent possible incidents like the Colorado movie theater shootings? I immediately thought of you, and how scary your posts are sometimes. Your neighbors should be warned about the things you say online, at the very least. Is there any way you could go talk to someone? I'm sure there are free programs, or maybe just a priest, or some family? You don't have to be a member to talk to a church counselor usuall
GSwift7
3 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2012
designed to reach Mach 6, or 3,600 mph


So, just to put things into perspective here. If they can get the scramjet to run for 15 minutes at mach 6, that's about 900 miles of powered flight. Add onto that the range of the launch aircraft, and the booster rocket, and then there's the unpowered glide range which would depend on a lot of things like weight and altitude. Add that all up and you could get 3000 miles. Just getting the engine to run for 15 minutes would make this a viable system for what they call a standoff weapon. At mach 6, it would be extremely hard to defend against, and with a range that long, you could create a serious problem for anyone wanting to continue breathing when the US doesn't want them to any more.
TrinityComplex
not rated yet Aug 15, 2012
I'm a little curious if there's been any progress on Pulse Detonation Engines, which are supposedly capable of speeds like this, or faster (the idea being that detonation of fuel releases more energy, faster). Last I heard of the research was about four years ago. They were conducting tests at JPL, and were ironing out frequency controls in a ten tube engine. Seemed like they were pretty close at the time, but I've heard/seen nothing since then.

I mention this because of potential civilian applications. It would be nice if air liners could fly faster, but scramjets and ramjets have been generally ruled out by aerospace manufacturers due to their unreliability and fuel consumption. This was the quick explanation given to me by an aerospace engineer, at least.
kochevnik
1.7 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2012
If you could identify someone ahead of time as being a likely danger to others, should you lock them up pre-emptively in order to prevent possible incidents like the Colorado movie theater shootings?
Typical collectivist conservative banter: Fuck the individual it's all about the welfare of the hivemind. BTW Holmes was high on a drug cocktail including scopolamine. It is a hallucinogen mind control drug increasing popular with date rapists. Holmes asked guards afterward how the movie ended. He had no recollection of the prior events. Amnesia is a characteristic of scopolamine. People assist in robbing themselves and wake up in an empty house, unaware how they ended up that way.
Lurker2358
5 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2012
Personally, I think mass shooters should be summarily executed by the first person able to perform the task.

Instead, they get free meals, free cable television, and free medical care for the remainder of their lives, while honest citizens can get none of those things.

The "Right to a trial" has already been granted, as there are an over-whelming number of eye-witnesses.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4 / 5 (4) Aug 15, 2012
So - scram, bam, thank you ma'am!? :-/

@ GSwift7:

"If it can't deliver pain on our enemies".

US doesn't have any enemies that it doesn't get by making aggressive wars on other nations. Few nations do that anymore.

These weapons for individual murders are highly problematic politically, since it lowers the bar for terrorism. Probably more money drain than gain.

@ GSwift7, Lurker2358:

"Vendicar, they need to lock you up and study you." "Personally, I think mass shooters should be summarily executed by the first person able to perform the task."

This is another problematic use of aggression. It too lowers the bar.

As for state sanctioned murders, a little use of statistics over nations shows that they don't work and are more expensive than prison. Also, using prison you can always revoke mistakes, IIRC a large minority (or was it majority even?) of the individuals the US state has murdered were innocent as discovered when DNA tests came along.
alq131
5 / 5 (1) Aug 15, 2012
He had no recollection of the prior events. Amnesia is a characteristic of scopolamine.

Guess ordering the ammo online, setting up the bombs in his apartment and sending letters to his mental health counsellor were all forgotten memories too...
Lurker2358
5 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2012
Larsson:

Lawful capital punishment is by no means murder according to any modern definition.

Vigilante killings or bounty killings of murderers was never considered murder in any civilization until relatively recently.

A guy who shoots an entire room or public park or street full of people does not need nor deserve a "trial" as their guilt is not in question.

It's a joke and quite dishonest to call them a "suspect" or an "alleged gunman".

The most just thing that could possibly happen in these cases is if somebody from the future had a time machine and disarm the bastards a few seconds before they shoot the first victim.

There is no "justice" in modern law. There is only a slap on the wrist after the crime has been done.

True justice would be if no crime was committed.

Since that's impossible, the next closest thing would be if the law was structured to actually PREVENT crime, rather than merely "enforcing" it...
InterestedAmateur
not rated yet Aug 15, 2012
Appears to be more comments related to mass shooting than the actual article.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Aug 15, 2012
He had no recollection of the prior events. Amnesia is a characteristic of scopolamine.
Guess ordering the ammo online, setting up the bombs in his apartment and sending letters to his mental health counsellor were all forgotten memories too...
Scopolamine plus coke and meth. This happened only a few kilometers from the Jewish boys who killed fifteen in 1999, and the headquarters for MK-ULTRA experimentation. Holmes was working in brain-computer interfaces. Probably being used as guinea pig.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2012
Appears to be more comments related to mass shooting than the actual article.
Well you have a criminal zionist network funding wars worldwide, murdering millions of people for profit and fucking with Russia over Syria as a gateway to start wars in the stans. This is just another insult. Americans don't care about being blown up in their offices by this mob, at least so much as to risk arrest. As for the hypersonic missile it's no match for a 65 megatonne bomb. Try again.
visual
not rated yet Aug 16, 2012
OMG that image with the crafts docked with each other totally reminded me of an old animation I used to watch as a kid... "Thunderbirds 2086"
GSwift7
not rated yet Aug 16, 2012
Typical collectivist conservative banter: Fuck the individual it's all about the welfare of the hivemind.


The radio host in question is kinda cool (though he was a guest host). He is a constitutional law professor. He didn't take any position on the matter, except to point out that current law isn't adequate to cover these situations because they leave massive gray areas open to interpretation. On the other hand he also pointed out that these gray areas allow for flexibility on a case by case basis, and there's probably not a one-size-fits-all solution. Interresting topic of conversation, I thought. Why does talking about it make you so mad???

US doesn't have any enemies that it doesn't get by making aggressive wars on other nations


That's a very extreme opinion. Not everyone would agree. I think there's probably a lot of reasons people want to kill us, in addition to what you suggest. Kind moot though. Does it even matter why?
GSwift7
not rated yet Aug 16, 2012
Appears to be more comments related to mass shooting than the actual article


Sorry, that's my fault. I should have just ignored the crazy posts like I usually do. That guy really does need help though.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 16, 2012
At mach 6, it would be extremely hard to defend against, and with a range that long, you could create a serious problem for anyone wanting to continue breathing when the US doesn't want them to any more.

Good job it failed, then.

Seriously: are there any applications for these type of weapons in this day and age?

US doesn't have any enemies that it doesn't get by making aggressive wars on other nations

Truer words were never spoken. The US never had any enemies (not even during the cold war) - yet they act as if they are under constant threat. It boggles the mind.
GSwift7
not rated yet Aug 16, 2012
I'm a little curious if there's been any progress on Pulse Detonation Engines


I believe that's been shelved for now. A scramjet is simpler in terms of moving parts and such, and since a scramjet is a breathing engine, you don't carry the oxidizer like you do in a PDE. Also, a scramjet should be able to go faster than a PDE. The theoretical max for a PDE is supposed to be mach 5 or 6, while the scramjet may be theoretically capable of mach 24 (some calculations say mach 12). A NASA X43 reached over mach 9 with a scramjet, which is currently the record for a breathing engine.

It would be a step backward to use a PDE as opposed to a scramjet at this point.
GSwift7
not rated yet Aug 17, 2012
Good job it failed, then.

Seriously: are there any applications for these type of weapons in this day and age?


Well, there are many situations where small military actions are a good choice. For example, if Isreal suddenly decides that it wants to nuke Iran, we might be able to take down their nuke before they could launch it. Perhaps without risking any of our pilots, and perhaps without killing any of their soldiers except the ones standing right next to the target. The Isreali air defenses are quite good. A normal cruise missile may not be able to get through.

Another use might be something like Alqaida trying to sail a ship full of explosives into the Panama Canal. An extremely fast weapon might be able to sink them when a normal weapon couldn't get there in time.

Hitting Somali pirates might be another good use for a high speed precision weapon. They often are able to escape before conventional weapons can be deployed.
dub1
1 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2012
Failures happen. The unmanned test flight failed. The information taken from this flight will help your children and /or grandchildren move faster. Or maybe destroy some tinpot dictator half a world away in under an hour. Or both.
kochevnik
not rated yet Aug 18, 2012
@dub1 Or maybe destroy some tinpot dictator half a world away in under an hour.
With your GPS coordinates as the destination.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Aug 18, 2012
. For example, if Isreal suddenly decides that it wants to nuke Iran, we might be able to take down their nuke before they could launch it.

Sorry. The US? Taking down an Isreali nuke? So it won't hit Iran? That somehow doesn't strike me as a plasuible scenario. (Sounds more like you still think the US is 'the good guy' in anything in this world. That hasn't been true since WWII (and arguably not even then))

Another use might be something like Alqaida trying to sail a ship full of explosives into the Panama Canal.

Ships are slow. The ususal set of weapons are quite able to deal with that (and it's not like you'd get the information while they are at sea. If you don't have it before they leave port then you aren't going to get it any time later)
GSwift7
not rated yet Aug 20, 2012
Sorry. The US? Taking down an Isreali nuke? So it won't hit Iran?


lol. I wrote it the other way around first, then changed it just to be funny.

Sounds more like you still think the US is 'the good guy' in anything in this world. That hasn't been true since WWII (and arguably not even then)


...and you took me seriously!!! facepalm!! OMG! Really.

and it's not like you'd get the information while they are at sea


yeah, it's likely that the first warning you got would be when the ship doesn't obey the harbor-master. You might only have a few minutes. Besides, it was just a hypothetical example.

What it really boils down to is being able to do the things we already do, but do them better. Safer, cheaper, etc. Perhaps one stealthy plane with this system can patrol an area requiring dozens of conventionally armed aircraft. Hunting shoot-and-scoot atrillary, like Iraqi Scuds, for example.