World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S. military conducted an unmanned test flight on Tuesday of its hypersonic Waverider aircraft, designed to move at six times the speed of sound using technology that bridges the gap between planes and rocketships, a military official said.
A B-52 bomber launched the remotely monitored, nearly wingless experimental aircraft, officially known as the X-51A, between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. (1700 and 1800 GMT), John Haire, a spokesman for the 412th test wing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, said in a statement. Results of the brief test flight will be released on Wednesday, he said.
The plan had been to conduct the test flight over the Pacific Ocean after a staging at Edwards, said Deborah VanNierop, a spokeswoman for Boeing Co, which was involved in constructing the craft, said in a statement.
The Waverider is designed to reach speeds of Mach 6 or above, fast enough to zoom from New York to London in less than an hour. But rather than commercial air travel, the military has its eye on a more readily achievable application - using it to develop high-speed cruise missiles.
The X-51A was launched off the coast of California near Naval Air Station Point Mugu, which is northwest of Los Angeles, Haire said. It flew north over the Pacific through a range that is designed for test flights.
"The X-51 is not retrievable, in other words once you fly it, it's going to end up in the ocean," Haire said.
The aircraft is known as the Waverider because it stays airborne, in part, with lift generated by the shock waves of its own flight.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne designed the X-51A's "scramject" engine, which uses the forward motion of the craft to compress air for fuel combustion, according to a description of the project from the military.
After being dropped from the B-52, a solid-rocket booster is used in the initial phase of the plane's flight to bring it up to speeds that can allow its scramjet engine to take over, by inhaling air through the craft's forward momentum.
In 2004, NASA reached a speed of Mach 9.6, or nearly 7,000 miles per hour (11,265 kph), with a jet-powered aircraft. But that vehicle, known as X-43, only flew for a few seconds and its copper-based engine was not designed to survive the flight.
Engineers have hoped to see the hypersonic X-51A travel for five minutes of powered flight. For protection from extreme heat, it uses insulation tiles, similar to those on the NASA space shuttle orbiters, according to a 2011 military description of the project.
Hypersonic flight is normally defined as beginning at Mach 5, which is five times the speed of sound.
The measure is intended to assist Afghans who worked for Americans, mostly as interpreters and guides, during the 13-year-long war.
The money would be used to replenish Israel's arsenal of Iron Dome interceptor missiles, many of which have been used to shoot down short-range rockets fired from Gaza into Israel in the current three-week-long conflict.
Six militants loyal to Taliban in Pakistan have also been killed in crossfire, according to army officials.
CAR descended into anarchy last year when Seleka rebels ousted then president Francois Bozize, a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup.
On the invitation of U.S. President Barrack Obama, the leaders will hold a high-level strategic dialogue under the theme: “Investing in the Next Generation.”
Taraba is a flashpoint of ethnic rivalries, particularly between local farmers and herdsmen.
Morocco has decided to bring its citizens back home from Libya against the background of the worsening security situation in the country.
The Israeli police said the Palestinian youths had pelted its personnel with stones and Molotov cocktails.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said it had to evacuate the Abu Youssef al-Naggar Hospital in Rafah after it came under fire from Israel's artillery late on Friday.
An explosion ripped through a workshop that polishes wheel hubs in Kunshan city.
Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said the Israeli army had used the hype about the humanitarian ceasefire to advance its troops 2 kilometers into eastern Rafah.
King Abdullah criticised international inaction over Israel's offensive in Gaza, which he described as involving mass slaughter and "war crimes against humanity"
Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip for almost four weeks, which killed at least 1458 Palestinians, almost a third of which are said to be children.
In May, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Snowden to "man up" and return to the US to face charges.
The official People's Daily said on its microblog that the incident happened in Hotan in Xinjiang's far south, when more than 30,000 civilians involved in a counter-terror operation
Women face two problems: the lack of identity cards and an edict from elders of their Pashtun tribes forbidding them from going out to get aid