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The high-risk, high-payoff X-43 A flights are the first actual flight test of an aircraft powered by a Scramjet engine capable of cruising at hypersonic speeds (above Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound). The X-43 A is powered by a revolutionary air-breathing Supersonic-combustion ramjet or 'Scramjet' engine. This technology raises the possibility of New York to Tokyo flights within two hours. Today, Scramjet is not a concept, as it has become reality. Within a decade or two, hyperplanes and such sophisticated aircraft cruising at Mach 10 will become a part of our routine life. Even the dream of "space tourism" is likely to come true, thanks to hypersonic passenger airlines that are in the offing.
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