A Hypersonic Cruiser Concept for the 21st Century
This paper describes a hypersonic cruiser concept for the 21st century. It is based on studies conducted by The Boeing Company and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA - Langley) to assess the capability of a hypersonic vehicle concept to conduct cruise and/or space launch missions. It details a Mach 10 cruise vehicle from NASA's Dual-Fuel Airbreathing Hypersonic Vehicle Design study (1995/96), and a Mach 10 cruise/space access vehicle, which resulted from follow-on work. Vehicle performance is presented showing that the Mach 10 cruise vehicle can operate over a significant mission radius, and that the Mach 10 cruise/space access configuration can accomplish desired space launch and cruise missions. A rocket based combined cycle (RBCC) variant is also introduced showing favorable cruise and space launch capability. NASA's Hyper-X flight experiment, which is the next step towards achieving this vision, is also described.