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E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
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When Fungi and Algae Marry
Plant Gas
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Finding the Past
Sahara Cemetery
Childhood's Long History
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White Tip Sharks
Food and Nutrition
A Taste for Cheese
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Symbols from the Stone Age
GSAT English Rules
Order of Adjectives
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GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Komodo Dragons
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Boa Constrictors
Space and Astronomy
A Galaxy Far, Far, Far Away
A Star's Belt of Dust and Rocks
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Technology and Engineering
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
Beyond Bar Codes
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
The Parts of Speech
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Flying the Hyper Skies

A little airplane has given new meaning to the term "going hyper." The Hyper-X recently broke the record for air-breathing jet planes when it traveled at a hypersonic speed of seven times the speed of sound. That's about 5,000 miles per hour. At this speed, you'd get around the world—flying along the equator—in less than 5 hours. The Hyper-X is an unmanned, experimental aircraft just 12 feet long. It achieves hypersonic speed using a special sort of engine known as a scramjet. It may sound like something from a comic book, but engineers have been experimenting with scramjets since the 1960s. For an engine to burn fuel and produce energy, it needs oxygen. A jet engine, like those on passenger airplanes, gets oxygen from the air. A rocket engine typically goes faster but has to carry its own supply of oxygen. A scramjet engine goes as fast as a rocket, but it doesn't have to carry its own oxygen supply. A scramjet's special design allows it to extract oxygen from the air that flows through the engine. And it does so without letting the fast-moving air put out the combustion flames. However, a scramjet engine works properly only at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound. A booster rocket carried the Hyper-X to an altitude of about 100,000 feet for its test flight. The aircraft's record-beating flight lasted just 11 seconds. In the future, engineers predict, airplanes equipped with scramjet engines could transport cargo quickly and cheaply to the brink of space. Hypersonic airliners could carry passengers anywhere in the world in just a few hours. Out of the three experimental Hyper-X aircraft built for NASA, only one is now left. The agency has plans for another, 11-second hypersonic flight, this time at 10 times the speed of sound. Hang on tight!—S. McDonagh

Flying the Hyper Skies
Flying the Hyper Skies

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