NASA ‘SCRAMJET’ READY TO FLY AGAIN: The X-43A scramjet is almost ready to fly again.

Scramjets compress air as it moves through the engine at supersonic speeds — without the need for moving parts. Traditional aircraft use fan blades to compress air, which is subsequently used for combustion in a chamber. Theoretically, scramjet technology could replace rockets as a propulsion system to space.
If everything had gone as planned two years ago, the X-43A would have broken a speed record for an airplane by flying at Mach 7 — seven times the speed of sound, which is more than 5,000 mph at sea level. That’s far faster that any air-breathing craft has flown.

Last week NASA released info on the failed first test flight of the X-43A. Apparently the booster rocket that was to shoot the test vehicle to 95,000 feet for the test wasn’t able to cope with the low altitude of the launch from a B-52. Sheesh.

Scramjets are a “way out there” technology that could some day change the way people and things get to low earth orbit. I don’t have any problems with researching them, because our current methods of getting people and things to low earth orbit is far too complex and expensive. Even when they aren’t grounded.


  1. I’ve been hearing about scramjets since the 1950’s. Wonder why they haven’t done more research. I think it probably is due to the lack of materials that can take the stress without coming apart. James ***