Feature Story

X-51A WaveRider team honored for excellence

The U.S. Air Force's X-51A WaveRider, an unmanned hypersonic vehicle, is the latest Boeing program to win the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation Award for Excellence. The award recognizes aerospace excellence that inspires the global community. The X-51A was a collaborative effort of the Air Force, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and NASA with industry partners Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The 787 Dreamliner was honored with the award in 2012.

“This AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence is a great honor for the men and women of the Air Force-Boeing team, who made history on this program.”

“Hypersonic research, which holds great potential for defense and commercial applications, is at the very leading edge of aerospace innovation,” said Chris Chadwick, Boeing Defense Space & Security president and CEO. “The AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence is a great honor for the men and women of the Air Force-Boeing team, who made history on this program.”

On May 1, 2013, the X-51A completed the longest air-breathing scramjet-powered hypersonic flight ever, flying for three and a half minutes on scramjet power at a top speed of Mach 5.1. The flight proved the practical application of hypersonic technology.

Learn more about the historic fourth flight of the X-51A.