This Air Force illustration depicts the X-51A Waverider scramjet vehicle during hypersonic flight during its May 26, 2010 test. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne SJY61 scramjet engine, it is designed to ride on its own shockwave and accelerate to about Mach 6.
Credit: U.S. Air Force
The U.S. military yesterday tested a new aircraft called the hypersonic Waverider (the X-51). The hypersonic jet plane, designed to reach speeds of Mach 6 or higher, could mean that passengers would reach London from New York in an hour. Plane designer Boeing says the aircraft is made to use the propulsion and heat from its own shockwave to fly. In previous tests, the plane was flown for more than a minute. However, the most recent test was a failure flying only for 15 seconds.