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X-51A Makes Longest Scramjet Flight
X-51A Makes Longest Scramjet Flight

The X-51A successfully made the longest supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight to date off the southern California coast on May 26. It was powered by a SJX61-2 that was first validated in a NASA wind tunnel.

The air-breathing scramjet engine, built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, burned for more than 200 seconds to accelerate the U.S. Air Force's X-51A vehicle to Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. It broke the previous record for the longest scramjet burn in a flight test, set by NASA's X-43 vehicle.

In this image from 2008, the SJX61-2 successfully completed ground tests simulating Mach 5 flight conditions at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

Image Credit: NASA
 

Page Last Updated: January 14th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator