The X-51 WaveRider team is focused on developing a free-flying vehicle that will fly longer hypersonically than all of it predecessors combined. Hypersonic speeds are those in excess of Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound).
The X-51 program is a consortium between Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The customers are the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with support from NASA.
The Boeing X-51 team purposely developed the vehicle to package a specific engine type into a soon-to-be-demonstrated platform. When this jet-fueled, air breathing hypersonic vehicle flies in late 2009 and early 2010, it will demonstrate a reliable system capable of operating continuously on jet fuel and accelerating through multiple Mach numbers
For more information, read the X-51 WaveRider overview (pdf). If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader for reading PDF files, it is available for free from Adobe.
If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader for reading PDF files, it is available for free from Adobe.