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The Military Transportation Technology

Crashed X-51A Test Results Released 48

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-luck-next-time dept.
cylonlover writes "The United States Air Force (USAF) has released the results of last August's third test of the X-51a Waverider, which resulted in the crash of the unmanned scramjet demonstrator. At a press teleconference featuring the Program Manager for Air Force Research Laboratory, Charles Brink, it was confirmed that a malfunctioning fin was the cause of the crash. However, engineers are confident of correcting the fault in time for the fourth test flight scheduled for (Northern Hemisphere) late spring or early summer of next year."
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Crashed X-51A Test Results Released

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  • Short Report: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @10:14PM (#41773361) Journal

    This should be easy, no?

    1) Procure working torque wrench of sufficient size and strength.
    2) *use* the damned thing next time.

    I mean, really - not even one page of paper for the summary.

    • No (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 25, 2012 @10:48PM (#41773557)

      This is not as simple as a loose bolt.

      ..the upper right-hand fin unlocked and deployed while the booster was still firing...but the booster’s guidance system managed to maintain the proper angle...After the other three fins on the cruiser deployed and powered up, the booster fell away, but the cruiser’s onboard computer couldn't maintain control because the electrically-driven actuator of the fourth fin was damaged or locked in place...

      So here is the proper summary:

      1. fin deployed early, but that was somewhat okay
      2. three more fins deployed normally
      3. the last fin did not deploy at all due to an electrical/solenoid problem

      So no this would not require a torque wrench, unless you tape a multimeter to it and start whacking the solenoid mid-flight for good measure.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        > unless you tape a multimeter to it and start whacking the solenoid mid-flight for good measure.

        That needs to go straight to youtube...

    • by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @10:57PM (#41773595)

      This should be easy, no?

      1) Procure working torque wrench of sufficient size and strength.

      Are you kidding? With hammers costing the gov't $600 a pop, how much do you think a "working torque wrench of sufficient size and strength" goes for? It's probably cheaper to just build another X-51.

      • You knoe those hammers don't actually cost $600. The extra money is going into black projects ;)
    • RTFA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Required Snark (1702878) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @11:43PM (#41773835)
      http://www.gizmag.com/x-51a-waverider-third-test-results/24665/ [gizmag.com]

      However, about 15.5 seconds into the flight the upper right-hand fin unlocked and deployed while the booster was still firing. ... Indications are that the fin deployed because a random vibration issue caused the assembly to vibrate harmonically while in boost phase, so that the actuator responded and sprang open. ... Brink says that the simplest fix will be to deploy the fins on the cruiser about one or two seconds after being dropped from the B-52 instead of later when the vibration problem occurred so that the fins are powered up and protected from damage.

      You're assertion is that the problem is the same as tightening the lug nuts on a car tire. The only lug nuts I see are the ones rattling around in your empty skull.

      This aircraft needs to achieve almost Mach 5 before the engine even starts, so it requires an air drop and a rocket booster even to start working. It operates in a test domain that cannot be completely simulated or created in a ground test. This is exactly the kind of failure that can only be encountered by a live lest. You have to build it, fly it, and see if it breaks. There is no other way.

      Given you complete lack of technical understanding, I would suggest that you stop wasting people's time on Slashdot and go somewhere more suited to your mental level. I hear that Disney has a lot of nice stuff for children. I think you would fit right in.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        You're assertion is that the problem is the same as tightening the lug nuts on a car tire.

        Your grammar is poor.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      This should be easy, no?

      1) Procure working torque wrench of sufficient size and strength.
      2) *use* the damned thing next time.

      I mean, really - not even one page of paper for the summary.

      Wrong tool.

      These are Engineers .

      If the BFH you used didn't work, get a bigger one.

  • ...but on the other hand, the Dragon Rider was successful in defeating John Malkovich... oh $%!#...I was supposed to finish that program for the fins! Aerospace Engineers are easily distracted by mediocre fantasy novels...
  • X51 (Score:5, Funny)

    by sunderland56 (621843) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @11:46PM (#41773843)

    Jeez, I know slashdot has been ragging on X11 all week... but they're already testing X51?

  • by PPH (736903)
    From TFA:

    However, engineers are confident of correcting the fault in time for the fourth test flight

    but then

    Until the exact cause of the fault is determined it won't be possible to correct it with certainty,

    Makes you wonder which statement was intended to keep funding alive and which one was aimed at securing more engineering time in the schedule.

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