X-60A hypersonic flight research vehicle program completes critical design review
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force Research Laboratory's X-60A program completed its Critical Design Review, a major milestone in the program. The program now moves into the fabrication phase. The USAF lab, in partnership with Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc., is developing the X-60A vehicle. It is an air-dropped liquid rocket specifically designed for hypersonic flight research.
The X-60A rocket vehicle propulsion system is the Hadley liquid rocket engine, which utilizes liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The system is designed to provide affordable and regular access to high dynamic pressure flight conditions above Mach 5.
A key part of the X-60A, which the Air Force says will have its intital flight in about a year, is that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration-licensed Cecil Spaceport provides a diversification in hypersonic flight testing to traditional Department of Defense flight test ranges. Additionally, this is the first Air Force Small Business Innovative Research program to receive an experimental “X” designation, in a long line of historical X-planes that includes hypersonic vehicles such as the X-15 and X-51A.
AFRL’s motivation for the X-60A program is to increase the frequency of flight testing while lowering the cost of maturing hypersonic technologies in relevant flight conditions.
For more information on the Air Force Research Laboratory, visit their website at AFResearchLab.com.
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