Hypersonic vehicles are not simply high-speed — they travel at least at five times the speed of sound. That’s fast enough to travel across the US in around 30 minutes.
The test was a “complete success,” claimed CAAA, which posted photos of the test launch on social media platform WeChat. “The Starry Sky-2 flight test project was strongly innovative and technically difficult, confronting a number of cutting-edge international technical challenges.”
Militaries around the world have been racing for years to develop hypersonic weapons. In 2015, the US Air Force announced their goal to develop a hypersonic weapon by 2023. Just this year, Russia claimed to have successfully tested its first hypersonic missiles, and released videos of the weapons in July.
Hypersonic missiles fly into space after launch, but then come down and fly at high speeds on a flight path similar to an airplane. Their lower trajectory make them more difficult for defense satellites and radars to detect.
Hypersonic technology can also be used for more benign purposes. Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, is conceptualizing a hypersonic passenger plane that could take travelers from New York to London in 120 minutes.
The Starry Sky-2 was launched into space by a multistage rocket, before separating and beginning its independent flight.
According to CAAA it performed several turns and other movements during its flight, and landed successfully afterward.
“Waverider” is a type of hypersonic aircraft that uses its own shock waves as a lifting surface, thereby improving its lift-to-drag ratio.
Apart from reaching superfast speeds, CAAA claimed the aircraft also successfully tested an advanced heat-balance thermal protection system.
The test marks the first time China has officially confirmed its research of waveriders, China Daily reported.
(For the balance of this story please see: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/07/china/china-hypersonic-aircraft-intl/index.html)