As its designation indicates, the WaveRider is designed to ride onits own shockwave as it flies at high-supersonic and hypersonic speeds.
The X-51A was carried aloft under the left wing of an US Air Force(USAF) Flight Test Center B-52H Stratofortress that took off fromEdwards Air Force Base, California.
An attempt to conduct the trial on the previous day had to beabandoned before the B-52 had taken off. A US Navy P-3 Orion aircraftsupporting the test had discovered a ship steaming in internationalwaters underneath a block of restricted airspace located in thevicinity of the UAV's potential splashdown zone.
The X-51A was released at around 1000 h local time while theaircraft was flying at approximately 50,000 ft over the Point MuguNaval Air Warfare Center Sea Range.