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Behind the Wings ®
The Podcast – S3, Episode 25

This episode will dive into the world of hypersonic flight, and how new methods of heat management could help usher in a new era for high-speed flight.

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Join us as we look through the lens of a heat management company, Reaction Engines who is pushing the limits of technology in engines, to enable the next generation of hypersonic flight. Hypersonic flight refers to speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5. Once you start talking about hypersonic speeds, there are lots of challenges that come into play from propulsion limitations to materials that can withstand high temperatures, economic feasibility, communications, physics, and more. Adam Dissel, President of Reaction Engines, helps us dive into many of these topics today, to get a better sense of the state of hypersonic flight, and where the cutting-edge of aerospace is headed.

Be sure to strap in, because there is a LOT to learn in this high-speed episode!

Key Takeaways:
  • Hypersonic flight refers to speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5, which is about 1 mile per second.
  • With hypersonic flight there are lots of challenges from propulsion limitations to heat, economic feasibility, communications, physics, and more.
  • The Silbervogel was the first hypersonic weapon, developed by German scientists in the 1930s. During the first manned orbital flight in April 1961, Russian Major Yuri Gagarin became the first human to reach hypersonic speeds. Also in 1961, Air Force Major Robert White reached speeds exceeding Mach 6 as he piloted the X-15 research aircraft.
  • A scramjet is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing jet engine in which combustion takes place in supersonic airflow.
  • Extracting and repurposing heat from jet engines could increase efficiency and speed.
  • Microtubes with coolant inside help to maximize surface area and cooling capability.
  • Reaction Engines test their cooling technology at Colorado Air and Space Port using the General Electric J-79 turbo jet engine.
  • There are many potential spinoff applications for this cooling technology including in Formula 1 cars, and manufacturing.
Resources:
Behind the Wings Season 4

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Behind the Wings Season 4

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