Going Hypersonic: Air Force's X-51A Waverider in Pictures

Air Force's X-51 Scramjet Sets Record

U.S. Air Force

This Air Force illustration depicts the X-51A Waverider scramjet vehicle during hypersonic flight during its May 26, 2010 test. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne SJY61 scramjet engine, it is designed to ride on its own shockwave and accelerate to about Mach 6. Full Story.

Hypersonic X-51 Scramjet

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

The Boeing Phantom Works X-51A vehicle with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne SJY61 scramjet hangs on B-52H wing mount under full moon.

X-51 Waverider in Hangar

U.S. Air Force

An X-51 Waverider hypersonic test vehicle is seen in an Air Force hangar prior to a record-setting May 2010 test flight that marked the longest hypersonic flight.

X-51A Waverider before second flight test

U.S. Air Force/Boeing

Ground crew members make the final checks to the X-51A Waverider scramjet, which is affixed to an Edwards B-52H Stratofortress, before the Waverider's June 13 flight test.

X-51A Taxis to Runway: June 2011

Boeing

A B-52H Stratofortress taxis to the runway at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., June 13, 2011, carrying the X-51A Waverider scramjet during its second test flight.

X-51A Captive Carry: March 2010

U.S. Air Force

An Air Force Flight Test Center B-52 Stratofortress from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., carries an X-51A Waverider prior to the scramjet’s first hypersonic flight test on March 26, 2010.

X-51A Antenna Tests

U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Cassidy

An X-51 Scramjet-Waverider mock-up hangs inside the Benefield Anechoic Facility during the vehicle's antenna testing Jan. 29, 2008 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Final X-51A Checks: June 2011

Boeing

Ground crew members at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., make the final checks June 13, 2011, to the X-51A Waverider scramjet prior to its second test flight.

X-51A Waverider Checked Out

Boeing

Ground crew members at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., make the final checks June 13, 2011, to the X-51A Waverider scramjet prior to its second test flight. Affixed to a B-52H Stratofortress, the Waverider was flown over the Pacific Ocean and launched.

Waverider Meets Stratofortress

U.S. Air Force/Chad Bellay

The X-51A WaveRider hypersonic flight test vehicle was uploaded to an Air Force Flight Test Center B-52 Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., July 17 for fit testing. Two B-52 test flights are planned this fall prior to the X-51's first hypersonic scramjet flight over the Pacific Ocean scheduled in December. Representatives from the Air Force Research Laboratory, DARPA, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing are partnering on the X-51A technology demonstrator program.

B-52 Stratofortress

U.S. Air Force/Mike Cassidy

An X-51A Waverider successfully launched from a B-52 Stratofortress, like the one shown here, on May 26, 2010. It was the longest supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight to date and accelerated to Mach 5.

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