Scram jet that burnes air

The U.S. military launched an experimental hypersonic aircraft on its swan song test flight Wednesday (May 1), accelerating the craft to more than five times the speed of sound in the longest-ever mission for a vehicle of its kind.

The Air Force's X-51A Waverider  reached a top speed of Mach 5.1 during the test flight, traveling more than 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes before crashing into the Pacific Ocean off the California coast as planned, Air Force officials announced today (May 3).

Wednesday's flight used the last of four X-51A vehicles built by Boeing for the Air Force experiments. While the previous test, in August 2012, was a failure , Wednesday's mission pulled off the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever, officials said. [ See Video of the X-51A's Final Flight ]

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