March 29, 2004
It Contains Much Zoom

I missed it, so some of you may have as well. Over the weekend, NASA's X-43A aircraft reached Mach 7. This represents a major breakthrough in high-speed propulsion, as it's the first time a scramjet has managed to go this fast.

Also interesting, but unremarked, is the fact that NASA's still using their old B-52B for test drops. According to Air & Space Magazine (as I recall), it was beginning to get very expensive to operate this aircraft, as it is the oldest operational B-52 in existence and doesn't share a lot of parts with the models the Air Force has on inventory. The plan was to buy an H model from the Air Force and adapt that, but apparently that hasn't happened yet.

Posted by scott at March 29, 2004 10:30 AM

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I watched it live on CNN. It seemed as if it took forever to get to the launch height, then this tiny plane dropped from under the wing of that big ole plane,and away they went. It didn't even seem real, suddenly you could see the curvature of the earth and hear mission control announcing the speed, everyone was so excited and amazed, I think. It was really the most amazing thing I have seen in a long time and a real relief form most of the things on TV now.

Posted by: Pat on March 29, 2004 11:48 AM
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