Fastest Rocket Sled in the World: The U.S. Air Force Railroad

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snrkl

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[video=youtube;I7IEfGTyT3Y]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7IEfGTyT3Y[/video]

Stumbled across this while following a crumb trail from something else..

I found it fascinating, so I figured I would share...
 

BEC

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Some of us lucky folks who went to NSL this year got to take a tour of Holloman and go out to the north end of the track and look around. Amazing stuff.

The first picture is a sign on the road near the south end. Our guide told us that they've gotten to Mach 9.7 so far and they're still wanting to get to Mach 10.

The second is a view down one rail from the north end - just putting my iPhone on its side on the rail.

The third is part of the remains of the target from the test that had last been done. There was equipment in the process of breaking these up for recycling of the concrete and the rebar. This was one of a number of layers that made up the target. You can see a number of other pieces surrounding this one.

The last is a panoramic trying to capture some sense of the thing - the maglev track on the left and the regular one on the right. Apparently the maglev has potential but is too fussy for most of what they try to do.

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neil_w

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Wow, there are a lot of videos about that track. Very cool stuff. I can't even conceive of Mach 10 on a land-based vehicle.
 

Zeus-cat

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I was program manager for a test program and did three launches on the track many years ago. Our last test was the fastest at 550 knots. That shredded the parachute that was in the ejection seat. When we saw the parachute shred (rated for only 500 knots) we knew our dummy that had been strapped into the seat was in for a rough landing. He hit hard and snapped his spine. Fortunately that was the very last test in the program.
 

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