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Two methods can be used to achieve the Vulcan hypersonic engine

DARPA held an industry day where it outlined some of its plans for hypersonic aircraft of the future. The program being shown off at the industry day was the DARPA Vulcan project. The project centers around developing an aircraft that uses a constant volume combustion (CVC) engine capable of flight at speeds from a standstill to Mach 4 and over.

Aviation Week’s Ares blog reports that the first part of the program was an introduction to the problem the program faces -- how exactly to accelerate an aircraft from a stop to speeds fast enough to activate a supersonic-combustion ramjet.

The program has some interesting slides and information (PDF) from the famed Lockheed Skunk Works HTV-3X flight demonstration vehicle that was conceived as part of the DARPA Falcon program. One of the slides gives an idea of the size of the HTV-3X vehicle by comparing it to the Have Blue aircraft that ended up being about 60% of the F-117 stealth fighter.

The Lockheed HTV-3X vehicle itself has been superseded by the DARPA Blackswift hypersonic program DailyTech has covered before. The engine that DARPA envisions for the Vulcan project is a CVC and turbojet combination.

According to Ares two methods can be used to achieve this type of engine. In one method a common air inlet would be used for both the turbojet engine that is to carry the aircraft from a stop to Mach 4 and higher speeds and the CVC that would take over at propel the aircraft to Mach 6 and over. This method is called turbine-based combined cycle.

The second method to achieve the engine needed is called an annular approach and would embed a turbojet inside a CVC ramjet engine. The big challenge here is that the turbojet would have to be cocooned when the CVC is active to protect it from the high heat produced inside the Vulcan engine over Mach 2.

Because a turbojet capable of propelling a aircraft over Mach 4 would be large and expensive to develop, DARPA instead wants to take a conventional Mach 2 turbojet and combine it with a CVC to get an engine capable of high Mach speeds, but at much cheaper development costs.

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Better idea
By FITCamaro on 6/26/2008 1:39:49 PM , Rating: 3
Start working on those warp engines. We can already go fast enough on this planet. We need the ability to get to Mars in a few days. Not a few months.

RE: Better idea
By nosfe on 6/26/2008 1:41:31 PM , Rating: 4
and what would we do there? have a picnic with Marvin?

RE: Better idea
By Mitch101 on 6/26/2008 1:47:58 PM , Rating: 5
How about we activate the martian air generators.

RE: Better idea
By ajfink on 6/26/08, Rating: -1
RE: Better idea
By Screwballl on 6/26/2008 2:35:56 PM , Rating: 5
Google this: movie Total Recall

Kuato demands it

RE: Better idea
By gyranthir on 6/26/2008 2:00:24 PM , Rating: 2
Arnold Shwarzenegger called he wants his plot back.

RE: Better idea
By G2cool on 6/26/2008 2:55:50 PM , Rating: 5
Umm... I don't believe Arnold Shwarzenegger has ever been involved with any sort of plot.

RE: Better idea
By RjBass on 6/26/2008 11:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a 6 right there. ^^^

RE: Better idea
By althaz on 6/27/2008 3:42:39 AM , Rating: 2
Everybody was thinking that, kudos to you for saying it :).

RE: Better idea
By m1ldslide1 on 6/26/2008 1:56:06 PM , Rating: 2
I would guess that we'd start developing a martian military industrial complex.

RE: Better idea
By djc208 on 6/27/2008 2:06:17 PM , Rating: 2
Right, need to start taking over those hostile asteroids, I hear they may be considered weapons of mass destruction.

RE: Better idea
By HighWing on 6/27/2008 4:00:33 PM , Rating: 2
Well for starters we would need a faster way to move supplies there before we could even do anything in the first place. So "getting" there in a reasonable amount of time IS the first big step to any kind of project involving another planet.

RE: Better idea
By kattanna on 6/26/2008 1:57:41 PM , Rating: 5
We can already go fast enough on this planet

i beg to differ. When i can pop over from los angeles to say.. paris for dinner and then be back for bed, then.. we might be going fast enough on this planet.

RE: Better idea
By FITCamaro on 6/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: Better idea
By DukeN on 6/26/2008 2:17:31 PM , Rating: 5
Doesn't Paris live in LA? Shouldn't be too difficult.

RE: Better idea
By Spuke on 6/26/2008 3:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't Paris live in LA? Shouldn't be too difficult.
Oh God. Please, just stop. LOL!

RE: Better idea
By HrilL on 6/26/2008 6:22:17 PM , Rating: 1
In that case he would probably want to spend the night there ;)

RE: Better idea
By Gul Westfale on 6/26/2008 7:41:33 PM , Rating: 5
well if a pretentious airhead whose body looks like she spent time in auschwitz and who has a face like the boy from the home alone movies is his thing... but she probably has a helluva lot of STDs.

RE: Better idea
By Reclaimer77 on 6/26/2008 4:59:29 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah it was called the Concorde, and now it doesn't fly anymore.

I guess high speed travel isn't that important to us after all.

RE: Better idea
By EricMartello on 6/26/2008 5:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
The Concorde was loved by those who used it (rich people), and it was shut down primarily due to the noise levels it generated when flying at super-sonic speeds near populated areas. A sonic boom from a large object, like a passenger jet, is "OH SHIT it's the end of the world" loud, with earth-shaking vibrations and all to boot.

RE: Better idea
By FITCamaro on 6/26/2008 7:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
Funny. I slept through plenty in Florida. It might shake the walls a tiny bit, but it by no means freaks anyone out once they're used to it.

RE: Better idea
By Calin on 6/27/2008 2:50:59 AM , Rating: 2
I guess high speed travel isn't that important to us after all.

I should rephrase that:
I guess European high speed travel isn't that important to US after all

RE: Better idea
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 6/26/2008 4:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
well dam, if they have all this figured out what am I going to do with my supplies:
3 gals. mountain dew
1/2 gal 5 hour energy
2 Viagra
1 lbs coffee
6 red bull
7 Mexican jumping beans
4 bottle rockets and one non-safety match.\
1 set of safety goggles
and a superman decal.
Thought for sure I make something with a little kick....

RE: Better idea
By DASQ on 6/27/2008 12:06:48 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Better idea
By James Wood Carter on 6/26/2008 6:03:41 PM , Rating: 3
There is a limitation to speed, humans can't get to mars quick enough isn't because of its engines lacking speed ... engines will never be fast enough. Besides humans can't go at speed of light, this means they wil never be able to reach far end of solar system. what they need is to find ability to fold space.

RE: Better idea
By lagitup on 6/26/2008 8:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
so challenge the common wisdom (we dont understand most of what Einstein said anyway...) and come up with something new that allows for faster than light travel? If you don't get what I'm talking about go read some Sci-Fi.

RE: Better idea
By Indianapolis on 6/26/2008 10:51:13 PM , Rating: 3
So what we really need is spice.

RE: Better idea
By BarkHumbug on 6/27/2008 4:28:07 AM , Rating: 3
Besides humans can't go at speed of light, this means they will never be able to reach far end of solar system. what they need is to find ability to fold space.

Ford Prefect, is that you? :)

RE: Better idea
By JimmyC on 6/30/2008 7:53:12 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I peg him for a Biiavian or possibly Screed, uhhhhhh...

RE: Better idea
By rebturtle on 6/28/2008 2:03:48 AM , Rating: 2
At one point in time, people believed that humans couldn't survive at speeds over about 35MPH (the first trains). There was less science in the fear then, but we tend to find ways of accomplishing things that were previously accepted as "impossible."

RE: Better idea
By James Wood Carter on 6/28/2008 6:02:38 PM , Rating: 2
But it has been proven that nothing can move at the speed of light, as speed increases so do their mass. They can never exceed the speed of light with an engine.

RE: Better idea
By kkwst2 on 6/29/2008 11:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
Probably best to say that Newtonian physics break down as you approach the speed of light. It does seem to be true that more and more (approaching infinite) force is required to accelerate a particle as it approaches the speed of light, but to interpret this as an increase in mass is not really correct.

People talk about relative mass, but I do not believe this is strictly correct. A particle's mass is constant. It's the F=ma part that breaks down at light speed.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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