AIR SPACE

The Hypersonic X-51A WaveRider

Boeing's X-51A WaveRider — a jet-fueled, air-breathing hypersonic rocket developed for the U.S. Air Force  —  went hypersonic during a recent test off the Southern California coast, flying at more than five times the speed of sound.

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May 1, 2013: B-52 carries the X-51 Hypersonic Vehicle out to the range for launch test.
USAF

X-51 WaveRider Concept

The X-51 WaveRider will be a free-flying vehicle that will fly further at hyperspeeds than all of it's predecessors combined, claims Boeing Corp. Hypersonic speeds are those in excess of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.

Boeing

X-51A Prepares for First Flight

Dec. 9: An Air Force Flight Test Center B-52H Stratofortress performs a captive carry flight of the X-51A WaveRider over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The captive carry mission is a key test milestone to ready to light the X-51's scramjet engine during the vehicle's first powered hypersonic flight in early 2010.

U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Cassidy

X-51A WaveRider Ready for Test

Dec. 9: Crewmembers and program officials prepare the X-51A WaveRider for a captive carry flight under an Air Force Flight Test Center B-52H Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The captive carry mission is part of preparations being made prior to the X-51's first powered hypersonic flight in early 2010.

U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Cassidy

X-51 Under B-52

July 17: The X-51A WaveRider hypersonic test vehicle was uploaded to a B-52 Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for fit testing.

U.S. Air Force photo/Chad Bellay

Loading the X-51 WaveRider

July 17: In the flightline of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Staff Sgt. Jonathan Young prepares to upload the X-51A WaveRider hypersonic flight test vehicle to a B-52 Stratofortress for fit testing. Two B-52 test flights are planned this fall prior to the X-51's first hypersonic scramjet flight over the Pacific Ocean scheduled in December. Representatives from the Air Force Research Laboratory, DARPA, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing are partnering on the X-51A technology demonstrator program. Sergeant Young is with the 412th Maintenance Group.

U.S. Air Force photo/Chad Bellay

Air Force Tests X-51 Antenna

Jan. 29: An X-51 Scramjet-Waverider mock-up hangs inside the Benefield Anechoic Facility during the vehicle's antenna testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The 412th Test Wing Hypersonic Flight Test Team, Electronic Warfare and Boeing began the month-long testing Jan. 28.

U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Cassidy

The Hypersonic X-51A WaveRider

Boeing's X-51A WaveRider — a jet-fueled, air-breathing hypersonic rocket developed for the U.S. Air Force  —  went hypersonic during a recent test off the Southern California coast, flying at more than five times the speed of sound.

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