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Supply ship docking
The 18th Progress resupply ship launched to the International Space Station is guided to docking with the Zvezda service module's aft port via manual control from commander Sergei Krikalev. A problem thwarted plans for an automated linkup.

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Shuttle collection
As excitement builds for the first space shuttle launch in over two years, this comprehensive video selection captures the major pre-flight events for Discovery and her seven astronauts.
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House hearing on ISS
The House Science Committee, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, begins its hearing on the International Space Station. (29min 59sec file)
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Phillips testifies
House members question Expedition 11 crew member John Phillips living on the International Space Station. (16min 33sec file)
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Past ISS astronauts
The hearing continues with questioning by House members of former station astronauts Peggy Whitson and Mike Fincke. (31min 33sec file)
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Station update
A status report on the Expedition 11 crew's mission aboard the International Space Station is given during this news conference Monday. (55min 54sec file)

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Tropical Storm Arlene
A camera on the International Space Station captured this view of Tropical Storm Arlene moving into the Gulf of Mexico as the orbiting complex flew above the weather system at 2:33 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 10. (3min 06sec file)
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Guinness recognizes NASA's X-43A scramjet speed record
Posted: June 20, 2005

It's official. The new world speed record for a jet-powered aircraft, set by NASA in November, has been officially recognized by Guinness World Records.

The accomplishment, the third and final flight in the experimental X-43A project, demonstrated that an advanced form of air-breathing (jet) engine could power an aircraft at nearly 10 times the speed of sound. Data from the unpiloted, 12-foot-long research vehicle show that its revolutionary "scamjet" engine worked successfully at Mach 9.6 or nearly 7,000 mph, as it flew at about 109,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean west of California.

The flight was the culmination of NASA's Hyper-X Program, a seven-year, approximately $230 million ground and flight test program designed to explore an alternative to rocket power for space access vehicles.

This is the second world speed record earned by the Hyper-X Program. The first came following its Mach 6.8 (nearly 5,000 mph) flight in March of 2004, which easily shattered the previous, long-standing record. Both records will be featured in the 2006 edition of the Guinness World Records book, which will be published in September of this year.

NASA is interested in supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) technology because scramjet engines get their oxygen from the atmosphere allowing more airplane-like operations for increased affordability, flexibility and safety in ultra-high-speed flights and for the first stage to Earth orbit. Once a scramjet-powered vehicle is accelerated to about Mach 4 by a conventional jet engine or booster rocket, it can fly at hypersonic speeds, possibly as fast as Mach 15, without carrying heavy oxidizer, as rockets must.

A ramjet operates by subsonic combustion of fuel in a stream of air compressed by the forward speed of the aircraft itself, as opposed to a normal jet engine, in which the compressor section (the fan blades) compresses the air. A scramjet (supersonic-combustion ramjet) is a ramjet engine in which the airflow through the whole engine remains supersonic.

"These demonstrations proved the viability of scramjet engine technology in a "real-world" flight environment and were the result of over 40 years of high speed propulsion research within NASA," commented Dryden's Paul Reukauf, who served as deputy project manager for the X-43A flight research and testing.

The new Guinness World Record certificate reads:

"On 16 November, 2004, NASA's unmanned Hyper-X (X-43A) aircraft reached Mach 9.6. The X-43A was boosted to an altitude of 33,223 m (109,000 ft) by a Pegasus rocket launched from beneath a B52-B aircraft. The revolutionary 'scramjet' aircraft then burned its engine for around 10 seconds during its flight over the Pacific Ocean."

Related flight records include:

The previous known record for an air-breathing vehicle -- but not an airplane -- was held by a ramjet-powered missile, which achieved slightly more than Mach 5. The highest speed attained by a rocket-powered airplane, NASA's X-15 aircraft, was Mach 6.7. The fastest air-breathing, manned vehicle, the SR-71, achieved slightly more than Mach 3.2. The X-43A more than doubled, then tripled, the top speed of the jet-powered SR-71.

The Hyper-X program was conducted by NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate with the NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., as lead center with responsibility for hypersonic technology development and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., responsible for flight research and testing.