The Air Force Research Lab last week postponed launching its second X-51A Waverider hypersonic test vehicle. The Waverider departed Edwards AFB, Calif., aboard its B-52 mothership, on March 24, only to be recalled shortly after reaching the test site over the Point Mugu Sea Range. “[T]est controllers opted not to initiate the test since all required test conditions could not be met,” explained Edwards officials in a release. Since the no-go was not due to any malfunction, program officials will reschedule the flight for the next available range date, pending the B-52’s availability and a thorough re-check of the X-51A’s systems. AFRL hopes that the second Waverider vehicle will attain speeds in excess of Mach 6, surpassing the accomplishments of the first X-51A’s flight in May 2010.
The White House announced its United States Space Priorities Framework in a document released concurrently with Vice President Kamala Harris' first National Space Council meeting. Listed among five U.S. priorities is to “defend its national security interests from the growing scope and scale of space and counterspace threats.”