China has successfully tested its first waverider hypersonic aircraft, which rides on its own shock waves.
China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics in Beijing, which designed the aircraft under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, announced that the first flight-test of its Starry Sky 2 was launched in Northwest China on Friday, reported Chinese News daily Global Times.
Launched in a rocket, the hypersonic aircraft successfully separated from its launch vehicle after about 10 minutes.
As per the academy, the independent flight maintained speed above Mach 5.5 for more than 400 seconds and reached Mach 6-7,344 kilometers per hour.
As per a China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics statement, as quoted by China Daily, in the flight-test announced on Friday, the Chinese waverider reached an altitude of 30 km and carried out large-angle maneuvers. The vehicle also tested a host of advanced technologies such as a domestically developed heat-balance thermal protection system.
The designing of Starry Sky 2 took three years and aims to demonstrate new aerodynamic technologies.
This was the first time when China officially confirmed its research and development of the waverider.
The United States and Russia have been testing waveriders for years, with an aim to make use of such vehicles' potential in military applications.
Prior to this, the United States had tested an experimental waverider from 2010 to 2013 that was designed to reach Mach 6.