The National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan said it will test a small experimental airplane next month in southern Australia as part of its efforts to develop next-generation supersonic transport.
The plane, which is 11.5 meters long and weighs about two tons, will be tested July 11 at the Woomera testing site, located about 500 km northwest of Adelaide, laboratory officials said Friday.
The plane will be attached to a rocket, which will propel it to a height of about 20 km. The rocket will then detach, accelerating the plane to Mach 2. Instruments aboard the plane will then collect aerodynamic data during the course of the flight, according to the officials.
The plane will be controlled from the ground and will fly at supersonic speed for about 12 minutes. It will descend to Earth with a parachute.
The laboratory aims to develop an advanced space transportation craft that can travel at twice the speed of a conventional passenger airplane but produce less noise and emit less nitrogen oxide.
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