Tuesday, June 19, 2007

DARPA Scramjet hits ludicrous speed

While we wait for the all-electric airplane (above), some other aero goings-on:

Woomera (AUSTRALIA) – A scramjet fired Friday in southern Australia briefly hit speeds of ten times the speed of sound. The engine was boosted 330 miles into the air and hit 6800 miles per hour on the way down, fast enough to go from Los Angeles to New York in about 25 minutes. Source

Reuters has the story too.

And putting some serious money (and brains) into next-gen aircraft fuel:

U.S. Air Force plans to develop synthetic aviation fuel.
From Xinhua (!)
Military looks at synthetic fuel for bombers and fighters. From the IHT

And from the University of North Dakota: Crop Based Bio-Jet Fuel

The team tested several mixtures of jet and biodiesel fuel in a commercial helicopter turbine engine and found some positive results. At cruise and take-off, “We saw substantial reduction in particulate emissions with no problems in operational performance. So that showed promise,” said Seames. They also ran fuel specification tests to see how closely the biodiesel/jet fuel blend matched FAA and military specifications “to see if there were any showstoppers. And there was a big showstopper for these blends. When you get above 2 percent of biodiesel in the jet fuel, the freezing point rose.”

”It’s one thing if you stall a tractor in 44 below zero weather. You haul the tractor into a heated garage and wait for nature to take its course. But if you are at 33,000 feet (where it is equally cold) and suddenly your fuel line begins to freeze, that’s more than just annoying,” said Seames.

If you want a quick overview of this stuff, Boeing's 8 page PDF is tough to beat

Finally, Airbus Wants To Cut CO2 Emissions By Half By 2020
From SpaceMart