August 15th, 2012
02:41 PM ET

Air Force's hypersonic test fails

By Mike Mount

A hypersonic aircraft launched by the Air Force Tuesday spiraled out of control and was destroyed before it could reach its goal of speeding to 4,600 mph, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The third test of the X-51A Waverider was launched Tuesday off the California coast from a B-52 modified bomber aircraft and was to fly for 300 seconds, reaching hypersonic speeds of Mach 6, but only flew for 16 seconds, according to the Air Force.

Officials said a problem with a tail fin caused the missile-like vehicle to fly out of control before the main engine could be ignited, leading researchers to destroy it early.

"A fault was identified with one of the cruiser control fins. Once the X-51 separated from the rocket booster, approximately 15 seconds later, the cruiser was not able to maintain control due to the faulty control fin and was lost," said a statement issued by the Air Force.

It's unclear what, if any, information was gleaned from the test. According to the statement, "Program officials will now begin the process of working through a rigorous evaluation to determine the exact cause of all factors at play."

The Air Force plans to go public with details of the failed test in a few weeks, after researchers are able to analyze the data from the flight.

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"It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the Scramjet engine," said Charlie Brink, X-51A Program Manager for Air Force Research Laboratory. "All our data showed we had created the right conditions for engine ignition and we were very hopeful to meet our test objectives."

The Air Force had four X-51A Waveriders and has tested three. Officials said they do not yet know when or if the fourth Waverider will be tested.

Recommended: Hypersonic flight, what does it mean?

soundoff (1,873 Responses)
  1. Paul

    OOPS!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • dean

      Outsourced parts from China, no doubt.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • Jack

      Yup, arm race ! Russians did that, eventually the country collapsed. We have 14 trillion dollars in debt, we are still spending more on arm race, we are on the same course.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  2. Sarah

    I am no aerospace engineer, but how on Earth can a billion-dollar hypersonic missile launch fail do to something so pedestrian as "a problem in a tail fin"? Didn't they test each and every part of the missile first?

    It is not like the thing failed because of some esoteric unknown hypersonic phenomena.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Aeromechanic

      Sarah, first off it wasn't a missile, secondly at the speeds they were able to get it to, things like a tail fin are critical.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
      • dean

        Well, why didn't they do stress tests on the fins to see if they were capable of taking that kind of speed.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • stormcellar

      I AM an aerospace engineer, and we lose our test aircraft often due to failures of small components. We test every part within reason, but sometimes they're just on the limit of failure at the end of a test. If a button is going to break on the 101st push (but you don't know that) and you push it 100 times, you won't know it's only 1 push from failure.

      But, it could very well have failed due to "some esoteric unknown hypersonic phenomena". Hypersonic fluid flow is a bit bigger of a challenge than, say, making a toaster. Shock waves, vibration modes, compressibility effects, and other fluid characteristics make air behave very, very differently at Mach 5.

      This is why we test! And if you don't like the idea of failure, please don't ride on an aircraft that ever crashed in testing phase (and that would be nearly every aircraft ever made!)

      August 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
      • Vooj

        Thank you for a reasonable defense of flight testing.

        August 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Victor P.

      It's called espionage. You think other countries would allow us to fully develop and test something like this? If we were able to develop rockets that travel at hypersonic speeds AND were nuclear equipped then there goes all nuclear deterrence and America will be holding the big stick again.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
      • Vooj

        We never lost the big stick and can deliver a nuke nearly that fast already. After all, we launch them into space and around the globe.

        August 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Dino

      ...and thats why you dont know jack.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • Mightaswellbe

      I'm with stormcellar here. I suggest that Sarah read up on the subject. A good book for that would be 'Eleven seconds into the unknown : a history of the hyper-X program / Curtis Peebles ; Ned Allen, eitor-in-chief. '

      Educate yourself Sarah.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  3. bencoates57

    To cover the cost of building a new one, the Obama Administration has pledged to find new ways to cut the budget. In unrelated news, the Obama Administration has announced deep cuts to its Jobs Bill.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Clif Evans

      The Republican's blocked the jobs bill, so there is none. Boy, they sure do come out of the woodwork.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  4. john

    If at first you don't succeed, TAX TAX again

    August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • mike

      This entire program has been cheaper than one day of Iraq/Afghanistan military operations. Quit being stupid.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  5. Franky

    It's the money that goes into to creating the technology of the future, which in turn creates the education of the future and the jobs of the future. north Korea has jobs and education, but they don't have our technology thusly they are irrelevant. How did we get that technology, some kid who got an education, said you know what let's create an engine , a jet engine, i shall call it a scramjet, it has not moving parts, but burns extremely hot and forces air at an extreme rate, i think it will only work in the upper atmosphere. He builds said engine, it crashes and burns, but he learns from said crash, creates some new math formulas , publishes a thesis, tinkers and 10 years later that scramjet works perfectly.

    You see it as a waste of money , and I see it as how science and advancement work. I had no idea that we knew all there was to know about the universe and had done all the experiments that needed to be done to find them out. Dupe comment. But needed to be said.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  6. pablo

    I wonder how fast it was going when it crashed.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • bencoates57

      Three times the speed of touch.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • Aeromechanic

      Well, the article stated that "once it seperated from the rocket booster" so I am assuming pretty damn fast.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • Monkeyshines

      fast enough to tear off the fin

      August 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  7. MACV/SOG

    I wonder how many test the SR-71 BLACKBIRD took untill it came to fruition?? Yes it was expensive but the Intel it garnered during it's service saved countless American lives!! I believe we built 7 of them and from the early to late 60's and maybe 1970-71 ,five were stationed in Okinawa .To see one take off is an amazing sight. A sight I was privy to many times and it never ceased to amaze. It far out classed the U-2 !!!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      And the SR71 is STILL the most amazing aircraft ever built!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Reply
      • RKT210

        I like the XB-70 myself. The A-11/YF-12/SR-71 had more neat features, but that's the advantage you get from being a black program.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Franky

      And it's still the fastest manned aircraft to date and we designed that in the 60's. Somewhere along the way 50% of this nation got stuck on stupid, and they thought somehow America just miraculously got on top. No, it's because yes, people spent, much research, tinkered toyed, including the government who has always funded alot of our advancement. some ask why go to mars. Imagine if the government said why go west, why should I fund building railroads out there. I mean doesn't it bother some of you people that we as a nation were more innovative in the 60's than we want to be now. Do you know how many things came out of space travel? The internet, yes, that was a govenrment project too. I'm tired of living in a country where science has taken a back seat to bean counting. How do you think we became a top nation, it wasn't be eschewing science.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • John

      I worked at the the engine manufacturer in West Palm Beach, FL for the engines for the SR-71 (aka: a Pratt & Whitney J-58) during the early sixties in the mechanical design dept. There were more than 100 engines designed and manufactured at that facility, total number unknown. Many exotic materials were used to dissipate the heat generated by those beasts. The engine was way ahead of it's time. Some of the engines components and tubes were gold plated to also dissipate the heat. A thing of beauty until it was run for a few hours. See this link for pics.
      http://www.enginehistory.org/P&W/p&w_j58.shtml
      When I retired the design and manufacturing of prototype hypersonic engines were being conducted.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  8. mendave

    90 minute flight across the country? How many sustained Gs would that be? I don't think anyone, civilian or military is looking forward to weighing (X) times their body weight for that long. This would be ONLY for weapons payloads. Say it like it is.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Diana R

      Mendave: Sustained g's? I admit to not knowing much about airplanes, but I know something about physics, and it seems to me the pilot and craft would experience increased g's only during accelleration; once the airplane was at cruising speed there would be only 1 g. Same with my car. I can feel g's pushing me back in the seat at 30 mph if I'm accelerating briskly, but I can cruise at 120 and feel only 1 g. Or have I overlooked something?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
      • RKT210

        No, you've got it exactly. I've been supersonic many times, and once you're at a constant speed it's no different than sitting still.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • david

      Speed isn't the same as acceleration. Look up how fast the space station is going around the earth.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
      • RKT210

        I can't look it up! If I let go of my chair the Earth's rotation will throw me into space!

        August 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • mike

      Mendave fails at middle school physics.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • matt

      G-forces are only felt during the acceleration phase, not during the cruising phase.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
    • 80shades

      The excessive G force wouldn't be maintained, unless the craft was accelerating the entire trip. A hypersonic craft would presumably produce a high G force as it accelerated to its (very fast) cruising velocity, at which point then the only force the pilot/passengers would feel would be the original G force, pulling them toward the earth.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • Clint

      You might ask for a refund on the Physics class you apparently slept through. There are additional g-forces only during acceleration - not for the entire flight. They will be high during acceleration, but nothing that technoligy and pilot training can't surmount.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • stormcellar

      (Basic physics fail!)
      Those "sustained g's" would come from the acceleration to flight speed. Once you're at flight speed, the only acceleration your body feels is that from gravity, acting down at 1g, just like it is when you're standing still on Earth.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • John

      Once the vehicle reaches its maximum velocity, there will be no more acceleration. Therefore there will be no extra G's to be endured. Simple high school physics. How many G's were passengers exposed to on the concorde? Or for that matter, any aircraft flying in a straight line?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • Quadinaros

      That's not how G forces work. G force only applies when you are changing speed or direction. Once you are at mach 6, you won't feel any G's. To get to 4000 MPH (1788.16 meters per second) would take 178 seconds at 1G acceleration.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • Bert

      Wouldnt you only have G's upon acceleration / deceleration? Would there really be sustained Gs?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • Deez

      You are mistaken. G forces are a result of acceleration, NOT velocity. A passenger on an aircraft in level flight traveling at a constant velocity experiences no G forces at all. You only experience G forces when you are speeding up, slowing down, or turning sharply. You can cruise along at Mach 20 all day and feel nothing. Now, that initial ride up to Mach 20 might soil a few pairs of underwear...

      August 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      Please understand the subject before you comment. There is a difference between acceleration and velocity. Your body cannot feel velocity, it can only feel acceleration (that's why driving fast in a car doesn't throw you around (as long as you're going straight), but stomping on the brakes (negative acceleration) can put you through the windshield.

      In this specific example: accelerating at only 1g (one times the force on you right now, but sideways) for 10 minutes gets you up to 13064 miles/hr & you'd be across the country in a few minutes. And yeah, I could survive that.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • mendave

      Ok. Momentary lapse. So what about the initial Gs. Tolerable?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  9. Hrmmmm_guy

    Who's to say it really failed. Did it? Who can independently verify this? Just because someone said it's so does not mean it's the truth. Oh yeah that's right "EVERYTHING" is trust worthy from our governments and the internet.... LOL

    August 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
    • Boston

      yeah, might as well stop reading the news

      August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • Mel

      Seek counseling.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Aeromechanic

      That is actually a good point. North Korea or Iran never admit to a failed test to save face. Why would we admit to a sucessful one? Maybe, just maybe we don't want the world to know what we have?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  10. u laby

    What, out of ideas on how to bash the conservatives CNN??

    August 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  11. bobinva

    I'm writing to my congressman about this. It makes me want to puke that the military is blowing OUR money on stupidity of trying to go 6 times the speed of sound.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • RKT210

      Are you writing that letter with a feater quill and sending it via the Pony Express?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • RKT210

      Are you writing that letter with a feather quill and sending it via the Pony Express?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      It's not YOUR money.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • E

      You're right, we should rally up to give all our taxes to the lazy and unemployed rather than the people that work hard to push technological boundaries...pfftttt

      August 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • Diana R

      Bob in VA: I agree with you. The scramjet test was a total waste of money. Darned Air Force. Just as it was a criminal wast of money for those morons in the government to start buying planes without propellers, back in '48. Heck, that P-51 Mustang was good enough to win WWII, so I figure it's good enough for 2012. Why waste money on them jet-powered things at all? Wasteful, I tell you.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • narutogrey

      You know, if the waverider succeeds, it'll actually mean huge cost savings equivalent to thousands of times more than the cost of developing this. First off, the obvious benefit is fuel consumption due to the scramjet engine and relying on the shockwaves from the jet. That'll be a minor savings. The larger savings is in global coverage. The 3 main parameters for coverage is how distance, flight time, and speed. Hypersonic jets mean less total jets need to be made in order to cover the same missions. Even the decrease of just 1 or 2 jet fighters means significant savings to the country.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
    • wally

      "I'm writing to my congressman about this. It makes me want to puke that the military is blowing OUR money on stupidity of trying to go 6 times the speed of sound."
      -–

      You are not going to write a letter to anyone; you're going to whine on this blog, and then go to another one and while over there about something else.

      What have you done today that is useful for anyone besides your self?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      Hmm...perhaps if you heard that the government were spending money on developing what was to become the Net, and it crashed during a test, which resulted in the loss of multi-milliion dollar equipment you would complain?

      Every tech development has its teething stages. Hypersonic flight is one of those.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      what's the difference between this and going to Mars?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  12. Rick Cavaretti

    16 seconds of data is better than no data at all.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  13. James

    to all those who are saying we spend too much money and effort on the military you need to know the facts! Understand that the military and it's contractors provide some of the best middle class jobs in the country. constructing the equipment used by our armed forces companies like Boeing, Lokead Martin, etc. provide not only great jobs and lots of them, but the advancements in the military sectors usually precede civilian advancements and in turn push our technological edge in the world!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • americans for a free america

      Yea right James. Its just another welfare program only with this one the military contractors are the ones making billions. Remember the $600.00 hammers and the $500.00 toilet seats. Great investestment of tax dollars.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
      • wally

        Yeah Free America,

        But when the government pays one of those contractors $8000 a day for the labor of one of those contractors and in turn pays them &300, not only has the employee of that contractor been ripped off, so has the taxpayer, while the shareholders and VPs of those company make millions. I understand using contractors for extremely specialized short-term contracts, but we are letting these companies rip off the workers of the companies and the tax payers.

        Does that sound like a good economic plan to you?

        August 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  14. jim

    I heard from a reliable source in the military that it flew longer thean 16 secounds. I think this might just be BS news to keep other countries from making a big deal it. Cmon really,..a fin came loose.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  15. CA Dude

    I do not believe a word of this report. The guys in the pic are wearing jackets, gloves and hoods. It's been 103+ degrees in California all week and 111 degrees in Death Valley where these aircraft are launched from. Why would they provide and old stock photo for such an event? Our government lies more that the former Soviet Union.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • RKT210

      It's obvious to everyone else that CNN simply used a photo from earlier in the X-51 program...is your tinfoil hat on too tight?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
      • CA Dude

        Not at all. Walk outside, drive to your local grocery store and you have been video taped by multiple cameras. This article is "disinformation".

        August 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • troy

      Frisco is in the 50's today with 15 mph winds, so just because death valley is 111 doesn't mean all of California is in a heat wave.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
      • CA Dude

        Read the post:

        "111 degrees in Death Valley where these aircraft are launched from"

        August 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • stormcellar

      Edwards AFB is 100 miles from Death Valley. Not to say it isn't hot in the Mojave Desert, but you're feeding as much disinformation as this article is.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  16. blaster34

    This is just like obama's re-election campaign, crashing at hypersonic speed. Another dud

    August 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  17. genebrady

    I think Iran has had better success with their stuff.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  18. Gio

    Billions to land on Mars and millions to crash test flights. At what point do we focus just some SOME of that money on education and jobs?

    August 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      You do know that government expenses in those areas VASTLY outweigh spending on research projects right? Or were you just spouting hyperbole instead of trying to make an actual point?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • Rick Cavaretti

      We did. Engineers and scientists got schooled, and built this on the job.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • RKT210

      Spending a ton of mony is not going to make you smarter or a better worker, Gio.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • mike

      These programs are drops in the bucket in the grand scheme of things budget-wise, and the findings of such projects lead to jobs in the future. This is an innovation-driven country. Stop whining.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • Franky

      It's the money that goes into to creating the technology of the future, which in turn creates the education of the future and the jobs of the future. north Korea has jobs and education, but they don't have our technology thusly they are irrelevant. How did we get that technology, some kid who got an education, said you know what let's create an engine , a jet engine, i shall call it a scramjet, it has not moving parts, but burns extremely hot and forces air at an extreme rate, i think it will only work in the upper atmosphere. He builds said engine, it crashes and burns, but he learns from said crash, creates some new math formulas , publishes a thesis, tinkers and 10 years later that scramjet works perfectly.

      You see it as a waste of money , and I see it as how science and advancement work. I had no idea that we knew all there was to know about the universe and had done all the experiments that needed to be done to find them out.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
      • teachers need better pay

        That first paragraph is one way too long sentence. Too many comas. Have you ever used periods in any of your writtings? Try it. It make for an easier read.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • theseconddavid

      Your job is your problem. You are one of seven billion people on this planet. Your life really isn't that important.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • wally

      Oh quit whining. These kinds of things provide both jobs and education. Lots of it. Oooh, just because it didn't work the first time they should give up? Where is the spirit of innovation and exploration?

      Is today national call the Wahhhhbulance day? So much complaining and sniping.

      Go on everyone, why don't you just say something nice for a change. You never know, it might just catch on!

      In the meantime, have a lovely day

      August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • Iceman

      Cancel scientific projects to create jobs? These things CREATE jobs!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  19. Doug

    We don't need jobs.
    We don't need social security.
    We don't need medical care.
    We don't need schools.
    We don't need polices.
    We don't need housing.
    We don't even need foods.

    But we got to have weapon that can fly 6 times the speed of sound.

    So, we are going broke and we cut everything else but we got to spend money on weapons.

    Does it make any sense?

    August 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      Imagine if on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution people had your narrow, short-sighted view of the world. You'd be out in a field tilling the soil by day and sewing your own clothes by candle light at night.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • Doug

        If we have the resources we can spend all we want to explore but we are going broke. If you have maxed out your credit card and you only have $100 left in your pocket. Are you going to spend it on food or on toys?

        August 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • theseconddavid

        Neither, I'm going pay off the credit card. Its not the government's job to feed anyone.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
      • wally

        OH Doug, we are not going broke. relax. Stop believing all the panic mongering about going broke. Sheesh.

        If we stop innovating and trying to be better, then we really will be broke. (Then you'll be whining that China is overtaking us and "someone" should do something.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
      • ᾨ CHE ᾨ

        "Guest" That narrow mindset, short-slightness and turn school kids into janitors is your own backward Repukecans vision for AmeriCia, America.

        Does the primitive, backward GOP quote of: "how obnoxious for American kids to be Educated?" ring a bell?
        You must be stone death.
        The World will be a better place if GOPers STOP breathing; America will get its priorities RIGHT ..............period.
        Kick the bucket, buddy!

        August 16, 2012 at 12:57 am |
    • mike

      It's not a weapon, dummy. It's a test platform for a propulsion system that could ultimately have civilian applications.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
      • ᾨ CHE ᾨ

        Midget, its a propulsion system for weapon.
        Pea-size brain; get your Physics right or re-enroll in 1st. Grade Physics Class in your Trailer Pk.
        Feel me?
        Don't be a typical AmerCIA dummy!

        August 16, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • pablo

      Without a strong national defense, nothing else will matter.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
      • Doug

        We already have a strong defense. We also have a strong offense. We keep sending troops to invade other countries.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • 52pan

      I agree with most of what you said, except for the weapon part. There was nothing about the craft that would make it a weapon. The Air Force does lots of testing that has nothing to do with weaponry.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
      • Doug

        Every research the Air Force does is for military purposes. If it weren't, it would have been done by JPL or NASA.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
      • ᾨ CHE ᾨ

        Another Midget size brain.
        It's a propulsion system for weapon. Know the Physics of it, its application and applicability therefore.
        It's NO brainier, you typical uneducated AmerCIA, Americana.

        August 16, 2012 at 1:10 am |
      • bluedeer

        Why does it have to be 'for a weapon'? Just because the test vehicle looks like a missile doesn't have anything to do with its actual function. All planes look like missiles if you look at them in certain ways, but you would you say all planes are missiles? This technology actually can help us significantly. Practical application of a Scramjet: Launch the vehicle from the ground and accelerate it up to sufficient speed to activate the scramjet engines. Then the vehicle can use its own engines to lift it higher into the atmosphere before activating the spaceflight engines which will carry it higher into orbit. Then on return, when it hits the atmosphere, it can activate its scramjet engines again, all of this conserving fuel on the way back down. This was in my Omni Space Almanac of 1980's publication. You have to look past the immediate appearance of things and think about the practical applications other than one single-minded function. Can it be used for a weapon? Sure, you can use anything as a weapon. But scientists also dream up other practical applications for new technology.

        August 16, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • DUH

      So constructing this device doesnt create demand for highly educated well-paying jobs?
      I get where you are going with your comment, but I would think more before you post your extreme views on the "needs" of society.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
      • Doug

        It might create a few high paying jobs but the money wasted on the toys itself could build a school or hire hundreds of teachers.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Doña

      Couldn't agree more!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • Crazed Engineer

      Yes it does when you come back with a corollary list.

      Conflict forces new research
      Research expenditure makes new inventions
      New inventions create new goods, services and products.
      New goods, services and products make jobs
      Jobs keep people fed and housed.

      A large portion of the American middle class employment depends on both military and civilian research. It's not palatable to a lot of people, but the fact is that an absolute withdraw of all research in the US would reduce the overall world research by 25%. A large number of people worldwide depend upon the US to produce the next solution. Tank armor? Ablative shielding in steel mills. Inertial guidance? Aircraft Navigation. Emergency military network? Internet. Gunsmithing? Metallurgy. I'd like to live in a weapons and conflict free world, but it's a pipe dream.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  20. tet1953

    You don't make advances like this without some failure. I commend the Air Force for doing it so publicly.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • TCIM

      Propaganda for the sheep. Anti-gravity propulsion has been a product of the military for a long time. This is for the public as to deceive and shadow. It's like a science fair for all of us to hope and wonder for the future. In the end...it's all just an illusion. I don't know why I post this...it's just going to get me flagged.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
      • DUH

        Yeah dude, sure. Eveything is propaganda, even what you are saying.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  21. jack 1

    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again

    August 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • Ewan

      You wouldn't be saying that if each try cost 1 billion dollars.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • Guest

        I would if what they're trying will expand our technological horizons, as this program will. As long as they're doing something truly new and groundbreaking, it's worth the attempt.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • mike

        That's still less than we were spending DAILY on Iraq and Afghanistan prior to the Iraq draw-down. $1 billion is a lot to you. It's not a lot in national/international terms. Get some perspective.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
      • Rudi

        $1 billion is about $3.50 per American.

        We are a large wealthy country which needs to innovate to maintain our way of life.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  22. Foreign Korrespondenz

    would be better off sticking with the economy class...

    August 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  23. mikrik13

    An unnecessary waste of time and money that can provide nothing positive for the people of the United States. Flaunting these wastes when so many citizens are hurting or soon to be so is taunting and disrespectful to the citizens who foot these bills.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      Try to have a longer view than the end of your block. This technology has a lot of applications. Passenger and cargo transport for one, space launch vehicles for another, not to mention applications in further research. Dollars spent advancing our technological frontier are dollars well spent.

      What's disrespectful is the $454 BILLION we spent last fiscal year on interest on the national debt. Those dollars did not lower the principal amount by one penny. Baby Boomers spent the next 50 years of this country's money and flip their lids at the notion that the rest of us may not want to foot that bill.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
      • genebrady

        That speed would remove the brain of a human. It has zero value for transporting humans.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
      • Guest

        Still valuable as a potential launch vehicle and for cargo transport. No thoughts on the rest of my comment, or are you just ignoring the parts you have no answer for?

        August 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • Aurora

        We have had similar technologies for years and they have not translated into the private sector, which is still years behind. Belt tightening should include military spending.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
      • John

        It obviously does not require sppeds of this magnitude to remove brains. everyone knows that conservatives would not get out of their horse and buggies long enough to ride in something this fast.

        August 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Mike

      You appear to be unclear on the concept of "Research Aircraft" and the fact that progress is made by actually testing things. Not everything learned is directly applicable to giving you a new iPod or 3D Cinema experience. But progress will march on none-the-less.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • mike

        Well said, "other" Mike. This country is becoming anti-progress and anti-science. It's disgusting to watch.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Dustin

      Let me guess... you foot the bills... because you're the most responsible person you know.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • woodofpine

      That's hyperbolic Guest. Youyr against the National Debt but in favor of the unnecessary military spending that creates it. Over half the annual budget goes to the Pentagon. Many multiples more than expenditures called 'welfare'.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
      • Guest

        It's not hyperbolic. Defense spending absolutely contributes to the national debt but research projects like this are a grain of sand on the beach that is our debt. A huge chunk of it comes from unsustainable social programs as well.

        There are certainly military research projects out there that can and should be cut because they're not doing anything groundbreaking, but this isn't one of those.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • James

      That's just silly talk. First, basic research always pays off. There were fools who objected to NASA's lunar program for the same reason, and that program returned spin-offs in spades.

      Secondly, and more importantly, government isn't and shouldn't be responsible for your happiness and prosperity. That's the citizens job. Grow a pair and get on with it, like the rest of us do.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • wisepupil

      Before you go ranting how this is a waste of money please do some research. I say this not just to you but to all who have this mindset of blind ranting. Many of the innovations that we enjoy today like electronics and transportation have come from the data and research that has been done with organizations like nasa and the military. So a waste of money I don't think so.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • anthony nappo

      These experiments are necessary when it comes to protecting our freedom. Just imagine you could launch a pre-emptive strike half way around the world.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  24. clinky

    Hey, that's my Dirt Devil I lost behind my couch! Give it back!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  25. Steve

    One ooops whipes out all the ata boys.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  26. Colin in Florida

    Folks, this is why you do tests. Yes, it cost money, but imagine being able to travel from New York to London in under an hour, or LA to London in less than an hour and a half, or London to Sydney in about 2 hours? This is what the Air Force, DARPA, and NASA do, they design and test things, and employ smart people to design these things.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • woodofpine

      Isn't THAT what the private sector is for?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • Guest

        You do know where the internet that you're posting these comments on came from, don't you?

        August 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  27. Haywood Jablome

    Why so concerned about the plane? What about the poor pilot?

    (I just pooed.)

    August 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • James Asher

      It was unmanned.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • Franky

      I'll pretend you just didn't ask that question. The better question is did it land in Iran in one piece???

      August 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
      • Vooj

        Yes, in 16 seconds, at 4600 miles per hour, it flew from the coast of California to land in Iran... At 1.28 miles/sec the aircraft only made it 20.48 miles. You probably drive farther to go to dinner and a movie.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  28. Dot8

    Sometimes you fail before you succeed and sometiemes you succeed before you fail ... either way failure is part of the plan.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  29. Michael

    I can see it now – 50 minutes from LA to New York, and an hour and a half to get your luggage.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  30. larry5

    How did they get this test past Obama in the first place? Is Obama slipping or too busy campaigning? In fact is Obama doing his job at all?

    August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • D

      ERROR: Please engage your brain and retry your question, thank you.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
      • John

        I detect a note of sarcasm in Larry's post.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • slewatha

      When have we ever spent more money on the military?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      What does Obama have to do with this? Do you think the president micromanages every little test the armed forces perform to build better weapons? What a dumba$$ you are!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • Gary

      Wow you are an idiot. How do we make amazing inroads on new technologies, and you find a way to turn it into a criticism of President Obama? You are biased and pathetic.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • You Said What?

      Are you just joking or do you honestly boil everything down to a political issue? These kind of blog comments make for a pretty juvenile conversation. Congratulations!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  31. Achmed

    Obama Ahkbar Obama Ahkbar Obama Ahkbar

    Obama binBiden 2012

    August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • well duh

      Trolling is also an art.. at which you fail quite miserably!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
      • dude

        I think you mean trolling is "A" art, sorry to correct you.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  32. Franky

    It's people like you as to why America is losing its technological edge. It's why China has a working space ship and plans to go to the moon, and we don't. Sure they'll see our flag when they get there but they can now just kick it over and we couldn't do a thing about it. 50% of the American striving to be last, now go back, the hick hill you climbed from.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  33. davidabarak

    Yoda,

    "a B-52 modified bomber aircraft"

    "modified B-52 bomber aircraft" is the suggested grammar, would I use.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  34. woodofpine

    We spend >5 times more money on our military annually than spender #2 (China – with its strong economy and unfriendly neighbors). In fact, we spend more military money than spenders ##2-15 COMBINED. Six months ago Mitt was talking about attacking Iran – I can't wait!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • Franky

      Everyone admires China so much and their strong economy. And we forget they are 1 party ruled communist nation. Yes, everyone, let's be just like China. Dummies.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Yes but we spend considerably more than all our NATO allies combined. The rest of the western world (ungratefully) depends on us and this is why spending is high. I disagree with it but that's why we do it.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
      • Ewan

        Nobody is depending on you idiot. It's a known fact that America has the most enemies out of all the NATO countries, you need to spend more on military because there are people out there who hate you and want to do harm to your country.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Steve

      Mit was kissing up to the Jewish vote.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  35. ucrymore

    Build more of this stuff. Failure happens and leads to learning. Our destiny does not lie here.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • 123elle

      I agree. If they abandon this effort, then all will have been wasted. The thrill of technological progress and exploration trumps the thrill of the lottery any old day. Even the failure is a learning experience.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  36. Jay

    Pics or it a government cover up!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  37. superior all-knowing most factual truth king of all the lesser-knowing

    They used magic to bring it down

    August 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  38. cedaly1968

    As I recall, this is about a $150MM project. The objective is to build a craft that can deliver a payload (bomb or personnel) within minutes of launching. Think of it this way, would you spend $200MM to determine if you could close $100 billion in military bases because you now know you can drop a bomb on a terrorist target from 12,000 miles away in 20 minutes? Yup, I would.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      We already have such capability: SR-71 (LA-NY in 1 hour) and partial orbit.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  39. AgrippaMT

    The Air Force gives the order to launch the new toy. Ooops, it goes right out of control. Boom, splash, no more toy. Way to go Pentagon. How much money have you squandered so far?

    August 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  40. F DANIEL GRAY

    I suppose the government of the DPRK is saying nyah, nyah, nyah.You copycats. Oh wait, I forgot, my government tells they have no contact with the outside world, and are isolated. And, wouldn't tell us if they did remark about our "failure." Right?

    August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  41. obsthetimes

    The chinese and the russians have probably sent divers scrambling to find the remains of the scramjet.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  42. Michael

    My question is why they are so public with this if it is still in the experimental stage. I guess they don't think the Chinese can see the prototype and all the results. Hello!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  43. BJ

    Duct tape could fix that.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  44. abaededb

    I'm not crying about the price. I'm saying this a provably bad idea that would be over-priced even if it cost one penny.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  45. Mooserocket

    Weird how it's August and they are all in coats, hats and gloves! Must not be a recent pic!!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  46. Scrape

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Try again.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  47. jack johnson

    Three tests = three crashes! Move the last one to the space museum (in the failed projects section), and save the tax payers any more money!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
    • RKT210

      We were all proud when we walked on the moon, but that would never have happened without the many rocket crashes and failed tests that happened while we were learning how to do it.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
      • dude

        The moon landing was rigged chief. We haven't invented anything for decades. Technology was invented by the aliens and the government doesn't know how some of it works yet.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  48. carola

    I rather waste the money in technology than in some of the walfare receipients.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • Since When

      How old are you? If you don't mind.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • ArtInChicago

      How silly. Waste is waste.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
    • oakstave

      What a strange thing to say. The military sucks up 44% of the National Budget. Welfare? Less than 1%. You just embarassed yourself in front of Millions, and you could have avoided that with 30 seconds of research.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
      • Since When

        Neither of your numbers is true. Go back to do more homework instead of spreading garbage information.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • ron

        Completely idiotic madeup numbers. Not close to truth. Just cause you can type does not make anything you say worth reading.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • RKT210

        The vast majority of the DOD budget is used for salaries and benefits for both uniformed and civilian personnel, you know, people who work. Money used to procure systems goes to engineers, scientists, and production workers. Welfare has its place – as a helping hand when times are tough – but there are families who have been on the public dole for multiple generations for doing nothing more than breeding and breathing. That needs to stop.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • Franky

        Actually, both numbers are true, excluding the cost of war we spent about $700 billion on military off right, factoring in the wars, and discretionary spending that ended up being earmarked for the military we spent close 40% of the budget on our military. Welfare came it about $30 billion last year, give or take a few billion, this is ASDF, funding or what people traditionally think of as welfare, 30/4000 * 100 ~ .75% or less than 1%. So, yes, military far outweighs the cost of welfare. People here numbers like $100 million or even $50 billion and think it's alot of money, not in our budget it's not. Someone told me they hated NASA , and they said we spend too much on it, I said ok NASA's budget is $15 billion, it sounds like alot right, until you put it into perspective it's actually only 1/3 of 1% of our annual budget.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • James Asher

      The only way to waste money is to not use it.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • netglobal

      Me too Carola. As soon as we can cut the Congress' gravy train the better. They take 61 days of vacation. They have a special VIP government healthcare program. They don't get anything done.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • tko

      I bet you're a good Christian and go to church on Sunday too. Remember that part about banging you're weapons into plowshares? I think Jesus was talking about stuff like this.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
      • dude

        Jesus was an alien invention created to pacify man. What we need to do is make more weapons for the coming apocalypse!

        August 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  49. UrinalMint

    Just a thought, but maybe they should revise their goal to 6 times the speed of smell. Or 6 times the sound of light. Pretty sure that would satisfy the critics.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  50. realPerson

    How many hospitals and schools could we have built with the money wasted on this weapon...

    August 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • brian

      None because it wasn't a weapon and wasn't intended to be. 4,600 miles an hour is significantly slower than even 30 year old ICBM's. It would be entirely useless as a weapon. It was a research platform. That fact aside, Hospitals are privately run enterprises so the government couldn't have built any. Likewise, schools are built at the local level not the federal level so again the answer would be 0. Thanks for playing though. Next.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • thinktank

      and how much it cost ?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • Since When

      Maybe 10 schools over 10 years. And we don't really need 10 more schools; we need better education in existing schools.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  51. anne

    how much did this test plane cost (us)?!!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • ron

      In materials not that much. The bulk of the funds went to productive American workers who pay taxes. Can you say the same for all the welfare recepinets? Where would you rather spend you money??

      August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • erikc

      It was a rental.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
      • dude

        Dude I hope they got the optional insurance.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • RKT210

      How much did New Coke cost? How much did Windows Vista cost? How much did Challenger and Colombia cost? Are you one of those mindless drones who do nothing more than watch TV every night and believe that any problem will be resolved in 22 minutes of run time?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  52. kormallain

    Someone Didn't hook up The Flux Capaciter to the P38 Space Modulator! Eff'n m0r0ns!!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  53. ArtInChicago

    Well in the words of a defense contractor: "First rule in government spending: why build one when you can have two at twice the price?"

    August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • RKT210

      You're portraying a movie quote from 'Contact' as fact. Nice job.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
      • Ash314

        Great catch!

        August 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  54. Fiscal Conservative

    So how much money did we just waste on this? Heaven forbid we cut one penny from the military.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • Since When

      Maybe the government should have never built that road to your home. Blind self-defined "fiscal conservatives" like you are really disgusting.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      To be sure, there is LOTS of waste to be cut from the defense budget. I see money get flushed away on a daily basis in the military, but this is exactly the kind of program that shouldn't be cut. Unlike a lot of experimental programs, this one actually pushes the boundaries of what we're capable of. There are so many non-military applications for a technology like this. Civilian aircraft are the obvious, but what about a launch vehicle for LEO satellites? It'd cheap and fast. Just because this vehicle didn't survive the test doesn't mean there's nothing for mankind to gain from this program. Find the programs that are dumping billions on things that are just fancier versions of stuff we already have and cut there.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  55. Franky

    Oh, relax people, the Wright brothers managed to crash after only 12 seconds. We managed to do it 12 seconds also but we were traveling 6 times the speed of sound!!!!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • ArtInChicago

      Don't think we quite made it to that speed. Flight attendant just announced that approved electrical devices could be turned on and someone with WiMax ruined it for everyone.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • D

      Not quite. They never got the main engine started.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  56. David M

    Failure is what leads to success. Analyze, refine, test, analyze, refine, test......That's what makes a project successful.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  57. gmenfan54

    Don't worry. Will just build another one. Screw Social Security and Medicare.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • Franky

      It's people like you as to why America is losing its technological edge. It's why China has a working space ship and plans to go to the moon, and we don't. Sure they'll see our flag when they get there but they can now just kick it over and we couldn't do a thing about it. 50% of the American striving to be last, now go back, the hick hill you climbed from.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
      • gmenfan54

        If you want to go to the moon you have my permission.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • brian

        ok. We'll take that as tacit approval to spend your tax dollars on scientific research.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • needNewGov

        Technology is great! Just don't cut human services to pay for it.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • Cook

        I couldn't more agree with you Franky

        August 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • Dave in Arizona

        What a monumentally ignorant thing to say. The average human body couldn't even take the acceleration/deceleration forces necessary to make this speed viable in consumer markets. That means there's one reason and one reason only the government is building it: missile technology.

        So we can blow up our enemies in 4 minutes instead of 5.

        In a world where our biggest enemies are 50-80 years behind us in warfare technology and have 1/60th the military budget we have.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Mark

      Soc Sec and Medicare are suffering from aging demographics, partially because advances in science is increasing longevity and quality of life. Now is that means we have to work a few years longer, then so be it.

      The positive vision of exploration must keep moving forward.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  58. Kevin

    We cant blame pres. Obama for it "he didnt do this on his own" LOL

    August 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
    • D

      Don't quit your day job just yet; I don't think the comedy thing will work out.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  59. PRC

    Made in the USA w/ China parts; A subcontractor went the cheap route.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Frogman

      You think that the Air Force would test expensive experimental aircraft built out of cheap Chinese parts? Idiot.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
      • kevin

        yes they would. And have

        August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • cedaly1968

      Boeing made the aircraft...

      August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  60. beezy

    Why must I blame everything on obama? Hmmm well for one, he is a waste of space. Has accomplished nothing. Not to mention you people blamed EVERYTHING on President Bush. You people are STILL blaming everything on President Bush. obama is worthless.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      troll much?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • mattindc

      beezy you're not too smart considering Bush WASTED BILLIONS and BILLONS of American Taxpayer money in IRAQ.
      No, you're NOT very smart....yeah lets get another BUSH/ROMNEY in there that'll help our country.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
      • sandman

        Is that why Mr. Barrack continued the Bush's foreign policy to a tee?

        August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • capnmike

      If you think President Obama hasn;t accomplished anything, you are either monumentally STUPID or monumentally IGNORANT, or (more probably) BOTH.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • Bereal

      Bin son, is that you? Your daddy was a bad man that is why he had a meeting with Seal team 6.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • LIberal

      Bad troll trolls badly.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
    • sandman

      He has given a new meaning to the word worthless.
      What a Community Organizer nows about technology? zero.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
    • D

      It amazes me how people seem to think that the passage of time can change who is responsible for something. If I kicked your sandcastle down last year, apparently it's not my fault anymore, cause I left the beach!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      Breezy – why don't you catch a good strong wind and let it take you away? I would suggest that you try and educate yourself on the many issues at hand. But the likelihood of that happening is slim to none.
      You were a Bush supporter? That says all I need to hear. Don't care for Obama? Fine. But to say he has done nothing only speaks as to your total ignorance and unwillingness to see his many successes and attempts at change. These two things have you blinded as to the accomplishments of the Obama administration.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • Sigh

      Move to Canada then...

      August 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Sigh

      I am so tired of the ignorant rhetoric that is mentioned towards Obama as being worthless and useless. The whole reason why Anti-Obama pundits support this is simply because he is black. Yes, I pulled the race card because it is the absolute truth. When faced with this truth the "majority" are too coward to admit it and throw up accusations that people are too race conscious. I heard enough of this from ambitious Tea Party candidates who lacked in depth political experience to lead dogs across the street. The truth of the matter is Obama was not expected to succeed with certain circles of people, therefore no matter what he does, good or bad, the color of his skin and what he represents will equate him a failure. It reminds me of when it come to a choice between a murderer and thief named Barabas and the son of God Jesus, the Jews preferred to have Barabas released and Jesus crucified all because they hated him and the works He did. Again, I pulled both the race and religion card because it is relevant.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  61. AJ

    Human error, humanity success. When man first landed on The Moon everyone talked about it. But no one wanted to know what went in the preparation before that. Everyone likes to shout and no one wants to fix. This also includes you CNN.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  62. R L Douglas

    All of the concerns about cost and priorities are valid for sure. However, today we get to fly through the air (in a chair) from one city to another at the rate of 550 miles per hour. I'm assuming someone had to be willing to push the limits with speed to get us to this place. This just may not be the right time to be spending on such. Doug

    August 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  63. Snow

    I don't understand people who keep complaining about the money wasted doing things like this.. which could have been used elsewhere..

    Consider this.. Some Morons in Spain must have also said financing an expedition for Columbus is a waste of money and should have used that money to feed the hungry in the empire.. and a LOT of morons in 70s and 80s said these Kompreeter thingys are just a fancy nerd toys and any research in them is a waste of money which could be used else where..

    See where those two got us today? The same people who said firing rockets into the sky is simply burning money are now enjoying the fruits of instant satellite communications and fast travel (thanks to the jet rocket engines).. and consider the booming economic advantages these inventions helped come to reality !!

    Do you think we would have had any of those if the advice of all those "well meaning", "feed the poor" people was taken? How would you know what advantages an invention would bring out unless we try and test them? How would we as mankind go forward when we do not innovate?

    August 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • steve

      DAMN STRAIGHT!!!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • steve

      We live in a world of the narrow-minded.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      I'm all for financing explorations, but not when so many people are struggling to put food on the table, make ends meet or no longer have a roof over their head. When the middle class is in the middle again (instead of neck-and-neck with the poor), I'll support this, but not before.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • hmm

      have you considered what percentage of ONE year's national budget this MULTI year program costs?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • Snow

      @Alex, I guess you would like to stop the research in the entire country and close down all the universities till your arbitrary line in the sky is met then? cause that makes soooo much sense!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  64. Bolaji09

    Sorry about your loss, guys – esp. coming so close on the heels of your compatriots' longer range success. Better luck next time, if the budget's there.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  65. Bdub

    And this cost Tax payers how much??!!?? flew for 15 secs... translated: "falling ending in a crash for 15 secs". Millions of $$'s to learn a tail fin doesn't work right... would figure the Airforce would have that mastered by now.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • gracko

      The thing was attempting to fly over 4,000 MPH. It's not some cold war era missile.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • well duh

      They built many many planes that easily break the speed of sound by many folds.. what have you done with your life?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
    • RKT210

      ...says the man who fixes everything with duct tape.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • Huh?

      If you want to talk frivolous expenses, why don't we start with something basic like the wasting of millions of taxpayer dollars annually, year after year, across this nation by almost every city in the U.S on fireworks in a celebration we call Independence Day, the 4th of July. This contributes absolutely nothing to the welfare or well being of the people of this nation. We do this stuff because we CAN, because it's coooool, and someday this may lead us to warp drive technology....Besides, a five hour flight to Hawaii or the East coast is just too damn long. : P

      August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • mike

      Bdub thinks he's smarter than Air Force research engineers. How cute.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  66. cljohnston108

    Wow, two big aerospace tech failures in a row, coming on the heels of the wildly improbable perfect landing of the Curiosity rover...
    Guess we know where JPL's luck came from — sucked outta the Morpheus & X-51!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  67. Jim

    The taxpayers can expect to pay for this, as always. No Warranty from the military industrial complex. The GOP want to expand military spending and cut Social contracts for the average American.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • Sarg

      The dividends paid back on military research are tremendous. From INTERNET, medicines, to machinery and even food storage techniques.

      No, this research is worth it.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      Yep, guess we should just scrap all attempts to develop new technology of any kind. Seriously, can you see beyond your own front yard?

      You want to go after wasted taxpayer dollars? Look up how much money we payed on *interest* on the national debt in FY 2011.. $454 BILLION. Check the Treasury's own figures. We've blown almost $300 billion on interest in FY 2012 as well. Baby Boomers financed their dreams on the backs of the next five generations and now they balk at the notion that they should pay for some of it.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • mike

      Great, now we have t-baggers AND leftards piling on. Awesome. OK, fine, let's put a halt on scientific progress in this country because a few idiots have budgetary hangup because the talking head on TV told them to. That'll go over great....

      August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  68. nitrous

    Doh!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  69. Reemo

    It took them 15 seconds to realize the ship had a faulty fin, yet they didn't notice that before the launch? Did the guy launch it and then say, "Oh, right! The fin! I forgot the fin was busted! Abort the mission!"

    August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • mike

      Newsflash: stuff breaks unexpectedly sometimes. More at 11...

      August 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  70. pk

    Super sonic super secret blah blah blah you still gotta fill up the tank gentlemen!

    August 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  71. MM

    Yea, I crashed my R/C airplane last weekend, too. The battery went dead when I was doing a snap-roll, and it crashed into a cotton field.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Person

      Too bad you don't get 30 million to determine the problem like they will

      August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • jackie

      More sorry for your RC airplane than the supersonic

      August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  72. Ty

    Failure IS progress. The moment you exclude failure from the learning process is the moment you stop progressing. We're fortunate to have engineers and scientists pushing the technological envelope, advancing technologies that will ultimately provide our country with jobs, security, and continued world leadership. China copies. We create. Both systems have worked, but without enterprising nations to emulate China would nothing. I'd prefer to not be dependent on other countries for our future.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Since When

      Good point Ty.

      Since when did Americans start to be afraid of failures? Check out all these "wasting money" comments on a test failure, wow. Unbelievable. Human being make progress by making mistakes and learn from them.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • Technology Pro

      Much too late for that...

      August 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  73. Ahmad_Albany

    Horrible news...hopefully they have learned what the problem or problems were so that all this time and energy hasn't been wasted. If nothing else at least they'll know where to improve or correct the design. I would love to see this aircraft become a reality...

    August 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • jack johnson

      This was the 3rd crash, and they haven't learned yet

      August 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  74. Scott

    Please people, just google TR-3B if you really want to know where we are in the "black world" This is all a front. Just saying 🙂

    August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  75. Andy

    Epic fail of your tax dollars.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • Robert

      It was neither a failure, nor epic. Early flight tests often result in vehicle loss. Scientists and engineers will undoubtedly learn something from the flight that will help them to iteratively improve the design until they do succeed. Stop being such a ninny.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • Peter Grenader

      (rolls eyes)

      I cannot stand people who are only willing to share in this country's successes and so quick to condemn the steps we must take to get there. This is ground-braking stuff they are doing here. Unmentionable technology crammed into a small space which will change all our lives in a positive way once it's suitable.

      Dont't tel me – you consider yourself a patriot, right?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Since When

      Without failure after failure like this, humans are still living in stone age.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • RKT210

      The term "epic fail" is used by slackers who believe that technical innovation is as easy as resetting their game console.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  76. Blondie

    What I want to know is where are they going to put the infight galley, store the service carts, disseminate the passenger meals, sell duty free, how many lavatories, and who will provide the catering for the passengers!

    August 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  77. sikhaboy

    FAIL ! People are loosing homes and unemployed and Govt is pouring millions into missile tests

    August 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • dur

      learn to spell.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • AJ

      Even worse, they don't know how to spell losing!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • rosie

      Government does not create jobs. Anyone that tells you they do are crazy.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
      • oakstave

        Except for Government jobs, infrastructure, The Military, scientific research, government grants... what was your point again? Oh yeah... that you have no critical thinking skills.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Anil

      This is better spend than building new temples / mosques / chruches. We need to travel fast on day..

      August 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • Since When

      Dude, if you cannot spell, no government can save you from LOSING your jobs.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  78. KawiMan

    It's Obama's fault.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • slaythedonkey

      Was the fin loose? bent? How could this have been overlooked? Maybe bent during loading onto the plane?
      Still someone messed-up!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
      • Robert

        No one has ever designed a tail fin to control a vehicle at these speeds. It wasn't "loose" or "bent"... good grief, did you graduate high school?

        August 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • suz

      It's not Obama's fault – it's the republicans who were in charge before him – educate yourself before you post ignorant statements.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • tea-basher

      Right. He personally went to the test range and did something to the fins of the X-51A. Put down the Fox News crackpipe, dude.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  79. BerserX

    @Tadpole – I sense sarcasm, but to be clear, no it's only meant for deploying warheads. Preemptive defens; also known as attacking.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  80. BD

    First, the reason that this isn't classified is because scramjets are so hard to make no one is worried about anyone but the top technological producers being able to replicate them.

    Second, they take very specialized, very complex maintenance that only the US is likely capable of supporting them in even the remote near term (unless a commercial variant was sold to a foreign or allied country).

    Third, scramjets have been the aerospace "holy grail" for coming on 25 years now (if not more), everyone and their mother would love to be able to build them so its a huge boost to the US's reputation for technology and acts as a potential boost in the balance of power from a M.A.D. point of view because of the technological implication for ICBMs.

    Fourth, part of the reason no one has been able to build them is due to the fact that the conditions needed to make scram flight possible tax existing flight system to their limit and their has never been something that allowed for casual testing at those speeds/delta V.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • musicmom

      One intelligent comment...I like it

      August 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  81. lou50

    they proved gravity works. They need to replace that antique model T and put the thing on a B-1 that can launch it at mock 1. otherwise we will have to listen to them whine about the next one did not ignite the engine as it was to slow.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • ma6ttens

      Lou50 is an expert, but can't spell "mach"... LOL!

      August 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • Robert

      Lou – are you someone who enjoys pretending that they have expertise just to make yourself feel relevant?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  82. Mike

    How much did that cost us?

    August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • Anil

      Definitely less than Campaign funds

      August 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  83. Wes

    test never fails.it just tells you what not to do next time.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • CrashandBurn

      I'm pretty sure they knew long before they started the test that losing control and exploding was not good... Since they did it anyway is classify this as a fail....

      August 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  84. USADilbert

    US is full of dilberts...too much time on their hands and beating their meats too much!

    August 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  85. Rishi

    I believe this is a great project. If this could have been a success, we will be having some great technology in our hands. Better luck next time.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • Franky

      That's what she said

      August 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  86. Joey

    Im sure everybody here knows that even if it was a success...the Air Force wouldnt come out and say it was. Nice try though guys.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  87. Obama

    My Fellow Americans,
    I regret to inform you that this rocket test has failed. Because of this failure, I have to raise taxes by 30% on those who make $50,000 per year or less. We need to keep defense spending up to protect this country and everyone who lives in it. Eventually, the federal government will enact a new national law enforcement division – we are calling it Government Enforcement of States to Terminate All Public Offenders, or G.E.S.T.A.P.O for short. We are hoping that with this division, and a little sacrifice of freedom, we can all become united as a single America.

    Allah Akbar,
    President Barak Hussein Obama aka Mohammed Malik Abu Al-Tarik Hussein Obama

    August 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • Franky

      The irony is that Taxes are lower under Obama since about the beginning of the 19th century, yes, we are historically low tax rates people. The average family pays $3600 less per year on taxes under Obama than under Bush. While Obama seeks to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans now, he has actually been cutting them for the last 3 years. Reagan did the same thing, he lowered them in 1981, and never lowered them again, raising them 6x's through out his presidency, hence why GW Bush Sr said I promise no new taxes when taking office. A promise he couldn't keep because the 1981 tax cuts were still causing too much deficit.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
      • sadams2@consolidated.net

        Frank – that's a crock

        August 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • sandman

        You sound like O.J Simpson lawyer.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • carmen gradin

      Is this post a legitimate post?

      August 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  88. Ghost Of Michael Whitney Houston-Jackson

    OMG, I was supposed to be on that flight! Wow...

    August 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • raul

      lol good one..

      August 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  89. Spiral

    Back to the clawing board.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  90. Joel

    the untethered series continues. NASA rover Untethered was as good as their original tests only better. The untethered series brings you USAF Super Sonic testing untethered! The oldies like youve never heard them before. Raw, like when you were a kid. CNN's Untethered. weekly on CNN.cm

    August 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  91. TSB8C

    Obama's blaming Bush.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  92. gdouglaso

    Well...when I think about how much this must have cost, I am going to feel less lousy about the fender bender I was in last year.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • Johan S

      It actually wasn't all that much .. $140 million over 10 years for all that R&D.. which if successful would get us one hour flights from NY to LA .. Compare that to the $806000 million just on the Iraq war (leaving out Afghanistan) or $50,000,000 MILLION spent on means tested federal welfare programs over the last decade (yes the number really is that high there is no typo there).

      August 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
      • Johan S

        And btw, the actual cost of the flights would be LESS than the current cost .. because scramjets are highly efficient .. less fuel would be used for the journey. Also, a scramjet has less moving parts than a current jet engine, which means maintenance will be cheaper too (though a scramjet aircraft will probably rely on a ramjet for the initial boost, the hours of the ramjet operation will be kept very low (on order of minutes per flight) .. so maintenance or overhauls wont have to occur often).

        August 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  93. MACV/SOG

    Setbacks can often lead to improved performance as an end result. I hope this is the case !

    August 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  94. Franky

    Somewhere Kim Jong Un is laughing. Oh, by the way, this is Obama's fault.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  95. jpphoopha

    It's Obama's fault.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  96. Nelson Muntz

    Ha ha!

    August 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  97. dhondi

    Weren't they successfully able to do this, manned, about 60 years ago??

    August 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    • ChrisK

      No

      August 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
      • dhondi

        X15?

        August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • julnor

      They are trying to test a scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engine. These have been tested in the lab for short periods but never have they been tested in sustainable flight. Things like the X-15 were rocket powered so they had to bring both fuel and oxidizer. A scramjet's oxidizer is the air, so it only has to carry fuel.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
      • dhondi

        But they were able to achieve hypersonic flight.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Billy

      No they reached the Speed of Sound which is 768 MPH and this experiment the goal was to reach 4600 MPH

      August 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
      • Paul

        The X-15 achieved a speed of over 4,500 mph.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Chris

      X-15 was rocket. Meaning it carried it's oxygen on board. Scramjet carries fuel, takes oxy from the air.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  98. Frank

    Yesss.. yessss! We need more machines of war! We must all work diligently to make World War 3 a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is no other way to deal with the problem of human overpopulation and the consumption of natural resources at unsustainable rates.

    August 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      You don't see the civilian applications? That thing could fly from LA to New York in an hour. Like it or not, the defense industry is a major driving factor in the advance of technology. Open your eyes.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
      • sandman

        You are right, on the first part.
        On the second part, airliners flying over the continental US at that speed? Not a chance.
        Just imaging the sonic boom those A/Ps would make.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Ron

      Oh- what about condoms and a little fore thought on the part of prospective parents to deal with the overpopulation issue? to reasonable to be a solution?

      lol.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
      • Ron

        ** correction typo** – Too reasonable to be a solution?

        August 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • sandman

      Didn't Barrack Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize?

      August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • DUH

        Yeah, for what though?

        I'm not an Obama hater, but I definately think he didnt deserve it.

        August 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • AverageJoe

      People like you are so completely ignorant. If you want to be a Luddite go find a cave and crawl into it. Most of the technology you use (including the Internet and computer tech you are using to read this) have come from government/military research. If you have ever or will ever fly on a plane – – same technology, same origins. Scramjets will take you farther, faster and more efficiently in the future. Just say 'thank you' to the scientists working on tech advances like this and move along.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  99. Tadpole

    I'm still a a little confused as to how they are going to manage to fit people in that thing. It is to be used for airplanes, right?

    August 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • Jeff Cox

      No carry on luggage.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • ChrisK

      They will have to shrink you down of course, Duh

      August 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • Jason

      Probably more like a high speed cruise missle.

      August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • lou50

      you people vote unsupervised I take it!

      August 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • iceload9

      Don;t how they'll fit you in. But you can be sure they are going to charge you for every bag.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
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