WaveRider hypersonic jet targets Mach 6
Hypersonic jet WaveRider is to undergo another test flight above the Pacific Ocean aiming to reach Mach 6.
At this speed – more than 4,300mph (6,900km/h) – it could travel from London to New York in about an hour.
The project is funded by the Pentagon and Nasa, and is part of plans to develop faster missiles.
During a test in June 2011, WaveRider travelled at Mach 5, but failed to reach the target speed.
It is one of several projects currently under way to create a hypersonic aircraft.
The research could also be used to build a commercial plane, able to reach much higher speeds than today’s jets, after Concorde was decommissioned in 2003.
The Mach number is the ratio of the speed of an object to the speed of sound. Mach 1 is the speed of sound – approximately 768mph, depending on various factors including temperature and altitude.
So Mach 6 is six times the speed of sound. Concorde’s cruising speed was Mach 2 – it flew from London to New York in just over three hours.
The WaveRider test flight is expected to last for about five minutes. At the end of it, the aircraft will break into pieces and fall into the Pacific.
The test is essentially a repeat of last summer’s attempt, when the hypersonic aircraft reached Mach 5, but the engine failed to attain full power.
london to new york in an hour..not even enough time for an in flight meal!