Scramjets

 

In March, NASA launched an experimental jet that reached a record-setting speed of about 5,000 mph. Now researchers want to leave that milestone in the dust. NASA’s third and last X-43A “scramjet” was set to streak over the Pacific Ocean on Monday at 7,000 mph (11,200 kilometers per hour) for 10 or 11 seconds — or 10 times the speed of sound.

This is very cool.  Here is the kicker:

Scramjet technology may be used in developing hypersonic missiles and airplanes or reusable space launch vehicles, with a potential for offering speeds of at least Mach 15. Unlike rockets, scramjets wouldn’t have to carry heavy oxidizer necessary to allow fuel to burn because they can scoop oxygen out of the atmosphere.

Those big massive tanks attached to The Shuttles would be no more.  Ships would fly like they do in Star Wars.  The advent of re-usable air-to-space flight similar to what SpaceShipOne is trying to do.  What are the next plans for the scramjet?

That will be the end of the X-43A project, which has cost more than $230 million and has no immediate follow-on program.

Yup.  They have developed the next technology in space flight and have no plans to do anything with it.  What’s the point?  I mean, come on NASA, what IS the point?  Someone send an email to President Bush telling him to either get Bill Rutan in charge of NASA or just give the money to Bill in the first place.


May 11, 2017 Editor update: They did develop an X43A, here it is:

I don’t think they ever actually produced any tho.