Science: High-Speed Research

Military aircraft are already fighting at close to the speed of sound in the thin air of upper altitudes. Soon they will be cruising and fighting still higher and far faster. Sponsored by the Air Force and the Navy, the nation's aircraft factories are turning out sleek, powerful experimental aircraft, unburdened by armor or guns, that are punching their way into the stratosphere at more than double the speed of sound. A few of them can fly fast enough to nudge the implacable thermal barrier (a speed limit of about 2,500 m.p.h.—TIME, May 26)....

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