Saturday, 18 August 2012

Pentagon confirms X-51A test flight was a failure

Graphic shows the X-51A Waverider as it is set to demonstrate hypersonic flight.
The US Air Force confirmed on Wednesday that the test mission one day earlier of an unmanned hypersonic plane hoped to travel at six times the speed of sound was a failure.
The Pentagon revealed on Wednesday that Tuesday’s test run of the X-51A WaveRider aircraft was unsuccessful.
“It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the scramjet engine,” Charlie Brink of the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, says in a statement.
The WaveRider was only scheduled to soar for around five minutes, and the military did not release any official comment on the status of the exercise until a full day later, only then finally acknowledging the failure.
Earlier in the day, Wired’s Danger Room reported that the WaveRider “failed its flight test” and suggested that “a fin problem caused a loss of control [before] the engine could kick in,” but did not cite where that information came from. According to a report also filed on Wednesday by, sources speaking with that outlet suggested that the test mission “was not a success.”
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