NASA Marks Tenth Anniversary of Successful Mach 7 Hyper-X Flight

March 27 is the 10-year anniversary of NASA’s successful Mach 7 Hyper-X flight. During this flight, the 12-foot-long X-43A research vehicle set a world speed record for an “air breathing” (jet-powered) vehicle. ATK provided the propulsion system, which included the Mach 7 airframe integrated scramjet engine and hydrogen fuel delivery system, vehicle construction and integration and launch support at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. In addition, ATK performed multiple development and risk reduction tests for the X-43A vehicle at its test facility in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

ATK also provided the Orion 50S motors for the modified Orbital Pegasus® rockets that began the X-43A vehicle’s acceleration. In order to meet the X-43A’s thrust profile, the motors were modified by removing some of the cast propellant. ATK manufactured the Orion cases and raceways in Clearfield, Utah; cast and finished the motors in Magna, Utah; and machined the propellant in Promontory, Utah.

On March 27, 2004 the X-43A flew at nearly Mach 7, or 5,000 mph, easily surpassing the previous record set by the military’s retired SR-71 Blackbird high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, which flew at about Mach 3.2. Eight months later the X-43A broke its own record when it flew at nearly Mach 10, or 7,000 mph. This was the final flight test of the Hyper-X Program.

Source: Alliant Tech Systems, Inc (ATK) (NYSE: ATK)
Date: Mar 27, 2014