FIGURE C-1 X-43A hypersonic experimental vehicle—artist concept in flight. SOURCE: NASA, 1999.

X-43C Hypersonic Demonstration Vehicle

Now in development, the X-43C is expected to accelerate to a maximum potential speed of about 5,000 mph, and could undergo flight-testing as early as 2008. NASA will develop, test and fly the Hyper-X series over the next two decades to support development of future-generation reusable launch vehicles and improved access to space. (NASA, 2002a)

The X-43C demonstrator, powered by a scramjet engine developed by the U.S. Air Force, is now in development. The X-43C is expected to accelerate from Mach 5 to Mach 7, reaching a maximum potential speed of about 5,000 mph. NASA will begin flight-testing the X-43C in 2008. (NASA, 2002b)

NASA’s Advanced Space Transportation Program (ASTP) Hypersonic Investment Area

NASA Marshall’s Advanced Space Transportation Program (ASTP) is investing in hypersonics as part of a new national hypersonics strategy formulated by NASA, the Air Force, Army, Navy and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. (NASA, 2003b)

Rocket-Based Combined Cycle Engines

Rocket-Based, Combined-Cycle (RBCC) engines are currently being explored as advanced propulsion for a variety of space launch, cruise aircraft and unmanned systems. This flexible propulsion



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