|The X-51A Waverider under a B-52 last week|
At first everything went as planned: the vehicle separated from a B-52 Stratofortress high above a naval air warfare center sea range in California and decoupled from the rocket booster. But 31 seconds into the test, a problem developed with a cruiser control fin and the X-51A Waverider hypersonic vehicle plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, missing its target of cruising at Mach 6 for five minutes.
Despite the August 14 failure, the race for hypersonic cruise vehicle (HCV) capability between the US, China, and Russia is still on.
|The Waverider under the wing|
My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.