The hypersonic X-51A WaveRider may someday be able to fly from London to New York in one hour.
Owned by the U.S. military, the X-51A WaveRider uses a ‘scramjet’ engine to reach 4,500 m.p.h. within seconds and travels at five times the speed of sound, reports the Daily Mail.
The X-51A WaveRider will be dropped from a B52 bomber over the Pacific Ocean, this week, then a rocket booster will speed it up to Mach 4.5.
If that works, then the plane's engine will take the speed up to more than Mach 6 and lift the plane to 70,000 feet.
The mission will last 300 seconds, then the plane will crash into the sea, where there are no plans to retreive it.
Robert Mercier, deputy for technology in the Air Force Research Laboratory, told the Los Angeles Times: "Attaining sustained hypersonic flight is like going from propeller-driven aircraft to jet aircraft. Since the Wright brothers, we have examined how to make aircraft better and faster."
"Hypersonic flight is one of those areas that is a potential frontier for aeronautics. I believe we’re standing in the door waiting to go into that arena."