Tech

August 18, 2012

Recap: X-51A flight ends prematurely

The X-51A Waverider is mounted under the wing of a B-52 Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in preparation of its Aug. 14, 2012, test flight. On a previous flight, the X-51A flew for more than three minutes at Mach 4.88 under scramjet power.

The X-51A Waverider successfully launched from a B-52 Stratofortress over Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range, Calif., Aug. 14, 2012, at approximately 11:36 a.m. PDT.

The X-51 safely separated from the B-52 and the rocket booster fired as planned. However, after 16 seconds, a fault was identified with one of the cruiser control fins. Once the X-51 separated from the rocket booster, approximately 15 seconds later, the cruiser was not able to maintain control due to the faulty control fin and was lost.

“It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the scramjet engine,” said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager for Air Force Research Laboratory. “All our data showed we had created the right conditions for engine ignition and we were very hopeful to meet our test objectives.”

The B-52 Stratofortress carrying the X-51A Waverider takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in preparation for the Aug. 14, 2012, test flight. The test ended prematurely when a fault with a control fin caused the vehicle to lose control.

This particular control subsystem had proven reliable in the previous two flights of the X-51A, including the historic May 2010 flight when the Waverider flew for more than three minutes at Mach 4.88 under scramjet power – nearly five times the speed of sound.

Program officials will now begin the process of working through a rigorous evaluation to determine the exact cause of all factors at play.

One of the four X-51A vehicles remains. AFRL officials have not decided when or if that vehicle will fly at this time.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
University of Rhode Island photograph by Tom Glennon

NASA kicks off field campaign to probe ocean ecology, carbon cycle

University of Rhode Island photograph by Tom Glennon The Research Vessel Endeavor is the floating laboratory that scientists will use for the ocean-going portion of the SABOR field campaign this summer. NASA embarks this week o...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

NASA’s high-flying laser altimeter to check out summer sea ice, more

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas This summer, the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar, or MABEL, will fly above Alaska and the Arctic Ocean on one of NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude aircraft. Sea ice in summer looks dramatica...
 
 
SOFIA

Outer space to inner space: SOFIA inside Lufthansa Technik hangar

NASA photograph by Jeff Doughty NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is shown inside the Lufthansa Technik hangar in Hamburg, Germany where it is beginning its decadal inspection. Flight, aircraft maint...
 

 
NASA photograph by Tony Landis

New life for an old bird: NASA’s F-15B test bed gets new engines

NASA photograph NASA’s F-15B flight research test bed carries shuttle thermal insulation panels on its underbelly during a research flight in 2005. NASA Armstrong’s F-15B aeronautics research test bed, a workhorse at th...
 
 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

Towed glider benefits from center’s new 3-D printer capability

NASA photograph by Tom Tschida The major components of NASA Armstrong’s new high-resolution 3-D additive manufacturing printer occupy a shelf in the center’s subscale aircraft research lab. Robert “Red” ...
 
 
NASA photograph by Emmett Given

NASA completes testing on 3-D printer

NASA photograph by Emmett Given United Space Alliance engineer Cynthia Azzarita, left, and Boeing Company engineer Chen Deng, members of the Human Factors Integration Team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, conduct a “...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>