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X-43 Flight Delayed.

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NASA has pushed back the launch of its X-43A because of instrument trouble used up most of their launch window on Monday. Although they were go for launch at the end of the window, launch controllers decided to push the launch back until Tuesday. If all goes well, the innovative "scramjet" prototype will detach from a flying B-52 aircraft, and then accelerate to Mach 10 - 10 times the speed of sound, or 11,300 kph (7,000 mph).

The X-43A research mission intended to reach Mach 10 today was postponed, and may be rescheduled for the same time tomorrow.

An instrumentation system problem with the X-43 caused a delay until it was fixed. When the preflight checklist was resumed, not enough time remained to meet an FAA launch deadline of 4 p.m. PST.

The X-43A team is meeting to assess the ability to launch the flight tomorrow.

If the mission can be flown on Tuesday, Nov. 16, the launch window would remain from 2 to 4 p.m. Pacific time, with takeoff of the B-52B mothership that carries the X-43A / Pegasus booster to launch altitude slated for 1 p.m.

The mission is intended to flight-validate the operation of the X-43A's supersonic-combustion ramjet - or scramjet - engine at a record airspeed of almost 10 times the speed of sound, or about 7,000 mph.

The flight is part of the Hyper-X program, a research effort designed to demonstrate air-breathing propulsion technologies for access to space and high-speed flight within the atmosphere. It will provide unique in-flight data on hypersonic air-breathing engine technologies that have large potential pay-offs.

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