The test flight of a aircraft that can travel at six times the speed of sound, crashed into the Pacific Ocean Thursday before it could get up to speed because of a faulty part, according to the Air Force.
Built, in part, by l at ’s Huntington Beach plant, the revolutionary X-51A WaveRider is a jet-fueled, air breathing hypersonic vehicle that can travel at speeds reaching 3,500 miles per hour, according to Boeing. Its success would hold significant promise for space exploration, spying and transportation.
"It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the Scramjet engine," said Charlie Brink, X-51A Program Manager for Air Force Research Laboratory, said in a written release. "All our data showed we had created the right conditions for engine ignition and we were very hopeful to meet our test objectives.
"This particular control subsystem had proven reliable in the previous two flights of the X-51A including the historic May 2010 flight when the Waverider flew for more than three minutes at Mach 4.88 under scramjet power - nearly five times the speed of sound.”
According to the Boeing, “The X-51A Waverider is setting the foundation for several hypersonic applications, including access to space, reconnaissance-strike, global reach and commercial transportation.”