November 17, 2004
Unmanned NASA X-43A Scramjet Achieves Mach 9.6 Flight Record

An unmanned NASA research vehicle achieved a new speed record for air-breathing engine powered flight.

NASA's X-43A research vehicle screamed into the record books again Tuesday, demonstrating an air-breathing engine can fly at nearly 10 times the speed of sound. Preliminary data from the scramjet-powered research vehicle show its revolutionary engine worked successfully at nearly Mach 9.8, or 7,000 mph, as it flew at about 110,000 feet.

The high-risk, high-payoff flight, originally scheduled for Nov. 15, took place in restricted airspace over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Los Angeles. The flight was the last and fastest of three unpiloted flight tests in NASA's Hyper-X Program. The program's purpose is to explore an alternative to rocket power for space access vehicles.

"This flight is a key milestone and a major step toward the future possibilities for producing boosters for sending large and critical payloads into space in a reliable, safe, inexpensive manner," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "These developments will also help us advance the Vision for Space Exploration, while helping to advance commercial aviation technology," Administrator O'Keefe said.

Supersonic combustion ramjets (scramjets) promise more airplane-like operations for increased affordability, flexibility and safety in ultra high-speed flights within the atmosphere and for the first stage to Earth orbit. The scramjet advantage is once it is accelerated to about Mach 4 by a conventional jet engine or booster rocket, it can fly at hypersonic speeds, possibly as fast as Mach 15, without carrying heavy oxygen tanks, as rockets must.

The design of the engine, which has no moving parts, compresses the air passing through it, so combustion can occur. Another advantage is scramjets can be throttled back and flown more like an airplane, unlike rockets, which tend to produce full thrust all the time.

Before the flight NASA was predicting an 11 second burn. The 10 second burn might be the reason they didn't break Mach 10.

The scramjet burned fuel for about 10 seconds off the southern California coast, US, to reach a speed of about Mach 9.6 (11,500 km per hour). It then glided for 10 minutes before diving into the Pacific Ocean.

NASA has cancelled the follow-on X-43C vehicle and switched the money toward a return to the Moon.

A Nasa programme to build a larger scramjet vehicle, the X-43C, has been cancelled amid the drive to produce a vehicle capable of returning to the Moon and journeying to Mars in order to fulfil President Bush's vision for space exploration.

Human stunt trips are not as important for spaceflight as technological advances in spacecraft design. But stunt trips make for better politics apparently.

For all the details on this aircraft see my previous post on the X-43A. Also, go here for links to QuickTime movies of the launch.

To reiterate my attitude toward this kind of flight: This is what NASA ought to be doing but with orders of magnitude greater efforts. NASA ought cancel the Space Shuttle, stop manned flight for several years, and spend all that money pushing the envelope to develop radically more advanced technologies for space launch and space flight.

One other thing NASA ought to be doing much more of: Develop defenses against the danger posed by large asteroids.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2004 November 17 11:46 AM  Airplanes and Spacecraft

Gus said at November 17, 2004 1:52 PM:

I agree with you that NASA should be concentrating on research insead of conducting manned operational flights. NASA though is not working on the hypersonic engines because DARPA is going banana's on developing such an engine. There is a research program called the Falcon program where the Airforce wants to develop a hypersonic airplane by 2025. NASA though is working on a different type of hypersonic vehicle that does not use a scramjet, but just a regular turbine engine insead (I believe a varient of the F100 power plants used in the F-15), called the RASCAL program. Here water or liquid oxegen are used to cool the air coming in from the inlet to temperatures that the turbine blades can handle at subsonic speeds. They hope to get an engine that will be able to fly at mach 6 and then build a plane that will launch small (100kg) payloads up to LEO.

Tman said at November 17, 2004 9:21 PM:


I went looking for that Economist article about impacs and ended up finding this page instead.... A very precise breakdown of the specifics behind impact odds and the potential consequences.

"We now know that Earth impacts, fairly big ones, are happening all the time. The late Eugene Shoemaker of the US Geological Survey came up with an estimate of the rate of Earth impacts, and suggested that an event about the size of the nuclear weapon that destroyed Hiroshima occurs about once a year.

Such events would seem to be spectacularly obvious, but they generally go unnoticed, for a number of reasons: the majority of the Earth's surface is covered by water; a good portion of the land surface is uninhabited; and the explosions generally occur at relatively high altitude, resulting in a huge flash and thunderclap but no real damage."

The scramjet sounds great and everything, but I think that we should be spending more time dealing with this first. While we still have the time to do something about it.

Philip Shropshire said at November 25, 2004 7:10 PM:

Here's what I thought: What if Burt Rutan modified that engine, integrated it with his unique wing design which makes reentry safer, and used that as opposed to that underpowered ship that he's using now? Of course, NASA and Rutan would have to work together...would such a ship even work at the altitudes that space ship one was released at...?

Mike Dragicevich said at December 1, 2004 5:56 PM:

I think this is an amazing accomplishment by NASA. It sounds like they have found a great and effective way to replace rocket systems in outerspace. Designing the engine more like an airplane with no moving parts. the scramjet only flew for ten seconds, I guess the next step is to try and produce a longer flying time. Also, incorporating a pilot into the jet will soon become realistic to explore more of deep space.

Randall Parker said at December 1, 2004 7:37 PM:


There is no next step. NASA is not pursuring this program any further. The follow-on scramjet is cancelled to make more money available for a return to the Moon and eventual trip to Mars.

I think the money ought to go toward development of next-gen launch and spacecraft rather than using the money to go places with existing technology.

Dr. Doug E HAynes said at February 12, 2006 9:14 PM:

Dr. Doug Haynes UFO #1 in Americas Black History Months Benchmarking

Many descendants of the first inhabitants on our 3.5 billion year old planet now look to fly to the stars as the internationally famous aerospace science pioneer; Dr. Doug E. Haynes prepares to place his Star Track looking, X-prize competition leading spaceship’s mock-up on display this spring for the world. Dr. Haynes believes that historians recoded long ago that Africans were perhaps the first to record flying saucer shape craft on a verity of cave and dwellings walls via imaging. Dr. Haynes also noted that many of the major benchmarks in the advancement of aviation came from black inventors and entrepreneurs like him. As Dr. Haynes and Blue Ridge Nebula Airlines finally engage in the final certification processed goals of their aerospace company by seeking to become the first all US based Air Carrier of the 90’s to apply for a FAA/ AST spaceline certification today they proudly announces the initiation of a new space flight global express mail service entitled “S-mail”.

By simply transferring their 40 year gained experience, knowledge, and wisdom in servicing global airfreight markets under operation names like Blue Ridge Airlines the management team of the worlds first spaceline company have actually developed a sub-orbital based air-cargo operational plan that is designed to transport perishable good around the world faster then posted time itself. Blue Ridge Nebula Airline’s cargo department will provide a unique market filling service which allows the residences of places like the US to receive mail from locations in or near Africa actually a day before it was outgoing post marked. Our flight team believes we can now offer this type of service now by using the Haynes Saucer shape spaceship designed, which was first introduce to the local aerospace sciences industry via the X-Prize competition two years ago. These UFO looking spaceships have the aeronautical capability to carry a verity of payloads high over the Atlantic faster then the sun can move across the earth’s waters. Because of these revolutionary flight characteristics Haynes predicts that his management teams will successfully complete the RLV certification process with the Washington FAA /AST division just as they eventually did with the FESDO team in Colorado a few years ago (thanks guys). Once that certification process is completed we will seek to providing our original air-cargo customers of Colorado the extra benefit of having fresh produce, goods, and or, services delivered to them from international locations within a 90 minute flight time platform.

The CEO of Blue Ridge Nebula Airline states that the industry has needed the advanced capabilities of an air machine like the Haynes Saucer which now offers mass transient, VTOL, long rang, higher altitude, low segment fuel burn flight profile opportunities for the first time in history. Dr. Haynes also discovered that only the ability to operate safely and efficiently in low earth orbit can yield real opportunities for CEO’s of critical thinking airline management teams like ours the positive option to triad harsh labor cost cutting management practices of today in for high technology based, fleet centered, low fuel cost impacting operations relief to cooperation account balance sheets.

Once again Dr. Haynes has set the historical standards in “airline features” as he successfully initiates the second wave airline industries transitional march to the stars while also contributing positively and wisely to our important America Aviation Black History records. Haynes has successfully taking the images of UFO’s off the wall of his ancestor’s homes and manifesting them into Star Track Enterprise looking, (FAA registered /certified) flying craft of today. Come see these amazing spaceships for yourself and meet the man behind this historical project this spring at the Metropolitan State Collage campus here in down town Denver, Colorado during the 2006 African American Leadership Institute’s ETV (Linda Williams, and or Norma Page at 303- 299-9055) conference.

Feel free to visit one of our two web sites at either, or 303-462-0410 for 2006 Haynes Saucer public flight demonstration scheduling events or contacting information.

Thank you and God bless us all this year.

Dr. Doug Haynes said at December 29, 2007 1:00 AM:

Dr. Douglas Edward Haynes UFO celebrates our Mars Christmas Victory

The CEO of Blue Ridge Nebula Spaceline sets a new aviation record in real time simulation space flight practices by completing the Mars round trip spaceline mission within 25 days. On the way to Mars Commander Dr. Doug Haynes simulated the winning of a Google Lunar and Marsion exploration competition using a mixture of our air and ground exploratory robots and manned flying saucers. The trip to mars included a vertical landing of our starship on Phobos and remote controlled robots dispatched to Deimos. The week long stay on the surface of Mars encompassed a company celebration of the Wright Brothers 104th “First Power Flight” anniversary as well as the Winter Solstice arrival. The return flight showcased a top speed continual thrust recorder braking flight back to our purposed Liberation point 1 spiral passenger/ cargo space wheel (now under construction) and the advanced capabilities of the Haynes Saucer as a Fold and Fly flying car to space.

The departure marker from the Red planet was rescheduled for the 18th of the month with a “return to earth” flight ending around Christmas Day. The simulated mission terminated safely and right on schedule thanks to Dr. Haynes superior aviation, airline and aerospace science three decade long experience.

This space flight timeline adjustment by Blue Ridge Nebula Spaceline flight following department was designd to facilitate a Suture 80 day round trip flight mission termination point just before our annual springtime public display event in downtown Denver. Blue Ridge Nebula Spaceline the safest civilian passenger and cargo space transportation operator was the only organization with a FAA-AST registered spacecraft bird in the air this December thanks to God.

As always please feel free to tune in at either or for future spaceline scheduling information or just stop by Colorado to observer for yourself our state of the art leadership performance and empirical evidence for yourself. God bless you all this Christmas Holiday and see you in the stars.

Dr. Doug Haynes said at February 3, 2008 12:45 PM:

Dr. Haynes goes 100% Green by sending his UFO into 2008’s Black History Month

This is why we need to recognizes Black History Month year in and year out?

Dr. Doug Haynes joins many other “earth first” human inhabitants (African heritage decedents) in leading the word into the righteous path of existence by creating the first 100% non-polluting atmospheric and outer space flying machine. Dr. Doug E Haynes recognizes that his aviation and aerospace industry has been a major production contributor in the destructive over creation of CO2 greenhouse gasses and as its leader he successfully moves to reverse this damaging behavioral pattern by creating a 100% Green flying space car.

Back in 2003, on the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first powered flight, Dr. Haynes demonstrated to the FAA, AST and millions of spectators around the world the superior capabilities of his non-polluting Haynes Saucer UFO looking prototype flying machine. Doug’s Saucer easily displayed the ability to out fly all current civilian / military VTOL, STOL, and conventional flying devices such as aircraft and helicopters and spacecraft on television and video tape. The Haynes Saucer also displayed the amazing ability to fly forward and backward at the same speed without expelling any green house enhancing gasses making it the vehicle of preference for the 21st century.

As others who have migrated to America from Europe and South America try to take false credit for being the first to establish a FAA/ AST registered spaceline company Dr. Haynes and his Blue Ridge Nebula Spaceline ( organization moves on to connect their state of the art, UFO, non-polluting technology to his newly developed flying car /space shuttle vehicle (Jetson Mobile). Dr. Haynes believes that this is why we must celebrate Black History month year after year since so may people try to take the African heritage ingenuity and multitalented based advancement for themselves while negatively stereotyping its global population base at the same time. Every one now recognizes the African community as the first humanoids to occupy the earth so we have to take the lead in helping to erase the damage that the industrial revolutions transportation devices created immediately, not when it’s cost effective.

So as the leader of the civilian passenger/cargo space transpiration industry Dr. Doug Haynes once again points the way to the right path for us all, as an African descendent is called to do by God, and prays that we all strive to work together as one people on earth to clean up our mistakes ASAP.

Come celebrate 2008 (Black History Month) with Dr. Haynes, the first to create a 100% Green flying car /spaceship, and his Blue Ridge Spaceline management team, the true initiators of the civilian passenger / cargo space flight transportation industry, while we show off our stuff and teach the youth of Colorado the true path to success.

As always God bless you all

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