X-43 Flight Delayed

The X-43A research mission intended to reach Mach 10 today was postponed, and may be rescheduled for the same time tomorrow.

An instrumentation system problem with the X-43 caused a delay until it was fixed. When the preflight checklist was resumed, not enough time remained to meet an FAA launch deadline of 4 p.m. PST.

The X-43A team is meeting to assess the ability to launch the flight tomorrow.

If the mission can be flown on Tuesday, Nov. 16, the launch window would remain from 2 to 4 p.m. Pacific time, with takeoff of the B-52B mothership that carries the X-43A / Pegasus booster to launch altitude slated for 1 p.m.

The mission is intended to flight-validate the operation of the X-43A’s supersonic-combustion ramjet – or scramjet – engine at a record airspeed of almost 10 times the speed of sound, or about 7,000 mph.

The flight is part of the Hyper-X program, a research effort designed to demonstrate air-breathing propulsion technologies for access to space and high-speed flight within the atmosphere. It will provide unique in-flight data on hypersonic air-breathing engine technologies that have large potential pay-offs.

Original Source: NASA News Release