X-51A Waverider
Artist's rendering of the X-51A

Dynic Labs, Inc. is proud to be a part of the historic X-51 Waverider program. The Dynic Labs, Inc. electronic valve control compares the electrical signal from a fuel tank pressure transducer to a reference value corresponding to the set point pressure. The resultant signal is processed by our controller, which discretely varies a nozzle-poppet valve by energizing and de-energizing a solenoid coil. In order to conserve vehicle energy, the valve coil control is operated as a pulse width modulated current control with the higher pull-in current timed to step down to a low holding current thereby reducing the overall power dissipation.

The basic premise of operation of this Smart Pressure Regulator is to control the pressure of a chamber (fuel tank) whose volume is continually varying by adding precise amounts of nitrogen to the chamber in response to a pressure signal. The single-stage valve approach reduces complexity (thereby increases reliability) and with the efficient drive topology allows the envelope and weight of the regulator to be minimized.

On May 26, 2010, the X-51 Waverider made its first hypersonic flight over the Pacific Ocean. The flight lasted more than 200 seconds and the X-51 accelerated to approximately mach 4.8. It is believed to be the first flight of a practical hydrocarbon fueled scramjet. The longest scramjet burn previously was achieved by the X-43A and lasted for 12 seconds.

The X-51 was carried by a B-52 to a nominal altitude of 50,000 feet and was released over the Pacific Ocean. It was then accelerated by solid rocket boosters to about Mach 4.8. The scramjet then took over and accelerated it to about Mach 5.

The hypersonic range of flight, which is generally believed to start around Mach 5, exhibits complex design challenges due to aerodynamic heating and pressure. The surface of an object travelling at Mach 5 can reach temperatures of 1,800°F. The dynamic pressure created by an object travelling at Mach 5 increases to around 25 times the atmospheric pressure.

Dynic Labs, Inc. is proud to be a part of such this event. Hypersonic engines similar to the X-51A will improve access to space and lead to the development of new hypersonic platforms.