Bad Reporter! No Cookie!

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Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2004
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I found an article that just goes to show how little actual research some reporters do on technical items. Not that I find this surprising, but from my pseudonym you should be able to understand my amusement in this matter. I'm the first to admit I'm not perfect, but this one is a howler. This just goes to show that not even <a href ="">Technical Websites</a> read every single article they reference. However one would expect <a href="">technical reporters </a> [and their editors?], especially those from prestigious { ed. modern meaning} papers such as <a href=''>The Washington Post</a> to pay at least passing attention to background information, and not make factual mistakes like this. For those of you who don't want to read the fine article that had me shaking my head in disbelief before I started laughing, here's the pertinent bits (emphasis mine):

'Researchers in the U.S. armed forces and several countries are working on scramjets as a low-cost alternative to rockets in weapons such as cruise missiles, and as an intermediate stage in spacecraft launches. <B><I> Unlike rockets, scramjets do not need to carry their "combuster" with them, potentially a huge savings in weight and cost</I></B>.'


'NASA has <B><I> no plans for further scramjet missions </I></B>, but project manager Joel Sitz noted that yesterday's flight produced data that "have given industry a lot of confidence to go forward."'

I know one should not tease reporters, but..

The word "scramjet" means "Supersonic Combustion RamJet". Airflow seperation, shockwaves manipulation, fuel mixing, combustion and exhaust processes occur at supersonic speeds inside the carefully sculpted engine (think carefully tweaked ramjet design [which is subsonic combustion, btw], ala the <a href=''>Snark SM-62</a>, <a href=''>etc</a>). I do believe that the reporter meant to say 'Unlike rockets, scramjets do not need to carry their 'oxidizer' with them...', as scramjets are air-breathing. Just a slight difference.

The other bit that had me laughing was the 'no plans for futher scramjet missions.' NASA might not have anymore plans for the X-43 series of craft (this one was known internally the X-43D I am pretty sure), but the technology is immature and they will definitely be doing more work refining the technology.

Somewhere on my personal machine (not on the LAN, so I have no access to it) I have a NASA Technical Report on their scramjet research, and it definitely does not mention curtailing studies.

Anyway, here's to reporters and their abilities, no matter how inadvertantly, to make us laugh. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the press.

Harm none,

I was looking for some X-15 info.

Now, everyone knows that the X-15 was launched from a B-52 mothership, which carried it up to angels 30 or 40. Or nearly everyone.

On an official, U.S. government website (I think it might have been the Edwards AFB site), there was a photo of an X-15 landing. The motor was off, the main gear (skids, remember?) had touched down, the nose was still high, and the dust was streaming out behind.

The caption for the picture said: "X-15 taking off"