CNN News Reports the outcome of NASA flight test


29 March 2004

On Saturday, March 27, 2004 around 5pm, NASA jet X-43A broke the speed record by reaching a maximum of over 7 times the speed of sound (about 5,000mph). This was the outcome of an experimental project created and conducted by NASA. They have been constructing and researching this project for about ten years, with one failed test run with a different jet in June of 2001. On Saturday, NASA made history with a successful test flight of the X-43A

The X-43A was constructed under a 250 million dollar project to research and develop unique engine types. There was no pilot aboard this 12-foot needle-nose scramjet. The jet was strictly designed for experimental purposed only. The X-43A carried a Pegasus rocket-booster that was launched for a converted B-52 bomber to assist the scramjets initial acceleration. This specially designed X-43A burns hydroxen mixed with oxygen from the atmosphere.

All of the people involved in NASA’s experiment on Saturday were very satisfied with its success. Griffen Corping, chief engineer on the project at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center said he was very please with the outcome, considering the great challenge the people involved were faced with. This experiment was conducted with hopes of improving space travel, along with lowering the cost. Intercontinental commercial flights would benefit also by flight times being reduced to nearly half. By the end of this year NASA hopes to test a vehicle at 10 times the speed of sound.

This experiment using the X-43A was a huge success for NASA. A lot of money was spent on this project in hopes to save money in the future of aeronautics. NASA has broken the record of speed at Mach 7 on March 27, 2004, a date that will go down in history; similar to the day the Wright brothers first powered flight. The developers hope to surpass that record in the near future. The X-43A’s success may help to encourage other innovative projects.