The NASA recently released unpublished material from the plane faster manned developed to date: the SR-71 Blackbird. The aircraft had its development started in the late 1950s, but the ultra-secret design was only revealed decades later.
The Blackbird was known for its different design and its ability to achieve supersonic speeds, more precisely 3,540 km / h – or Mach 3. More than that: it could maintain this speed for more than an hour and the maximum flight altitude reached Impressive 26 thousand meters.
There were 32 aircraft produced by Lockheed Martin, but in the 1990s, four SR-71s were in operation, two in the hands of NASA for research purposes, and two used by the US Air Force for reconnaissance missions.
The Blackbird was officially retired in 1999 and remains the world’s fastest manned aircraft to date.
Lockheed plans to launch the successor to SR-71, the SR-72, soon, but has not said anything directly related to the project so far. Rob Weiss, the company’s VP, has simply said that a new technology has already been developed in conjunction with DARPA.
Rumors suggest that the new airplane could reach a speed of 4,800 km / h, being used for situations that need an emergency response.
Source: Interesting Engineering