Hypersonics could take a leap forward this year with four planned flights of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s X-51A WaveRider scramjet engine demonstrator. Built by Boeing and powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne hydrocarbon-fueled, fuel-cooled ramjet/scramjet, the Mach 6 vehicle could be the precursor to a long-range strike missile. If successful, the engine could be scaled to power a high-speed strike/reconnaissance aircraft and, ultimately, a space access vehicle; both ...

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