Update: Hypersonic Aircraft Crashes During Test Flight

There very well may come a day when the norm of air travel for the general public is to fly at mach 6, making us truly citizens of the world. 

We were working the phones yesterday to try to find out the status of the U.S. Navy's test flight of the X-51A Waverider, an aircraft that engineers designed to travel at 4,500 miles per hour. As we noted, that's five times the speed of sound, and about 117 times the speed of Usain Bolt in full sprint! Moving this fast, one could go from New York City to London in about one hour. 

Spokespeople at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base were suspiciously mum, and now it turns out that was for a good reason: the unmanned craft broke apart and crashed into the Pacific mere seconds after its rocket booster started. A "faulty control fin," was the cause of the failure, according to a statement recently released.

It's disappointing, as this hypersonic jet is a promising innovation. 

How does it work? The aircraft is equipped with a revolutionary scramjet engine. The engine rapidly pulls in the oxygen needed to burn the fuel it uses from the atmosphere. This animation, courtesy of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, shows everything:

Read more at Pratt & Whitney

Related Articles
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less