December 17, 2007
The HTV-3X hypersonic Scramjet could travel from New York to Tokyo in two hours. “If it works.”
The world's fastest jet, the Air Force’s SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, set a speed record of Mach 3.3 in 1990 when it flew from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in just over an hour. That’s about the limit for jet engines; the fastest fighter planes barely crack Mach 1.6. Scramjets, on the other hand, can theoretically fly as fast as Mach 15 — nearly 10,000 mph.