NASA's X-43A Supersonic Scramjet Breaks All-Time Speed Record...

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Close To Mach 10...

At 110,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday afternoon, NASA's scramjet-powered X-43A unmanned research vehicle flew at close to Mach 9.8, nearly 7,000 miles per hour, breaking its own previous record of Mach 7, set in March, for air-breathing engines. The flight is a "key milestone," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, that will help to advance commercial aviation technology. Supersonic combustion ramjets (scramjets) promise to make ultra-high-speed flights within the atmosphere cheaper and safer, NASA said Tuesday in a news release, and provide an alternative to rockets. The technology can also be used in the first stage to Earth orbit.