A team of scientists conducted the first successful flight of the Starry Sky-2 hypersonic aircraft at a secret location in northwest China on Friday last week. The cutting-edge aircraft was fired into space using its unique shockwave propulsion system, an experimental design known as a waverider. During its flight the aircraft maintained speeds above mach 5 (3,806 mph) for 400 seconds and reached a top speed of Mach 6, or 4,563 mph.

A statement issued by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA), which oversaw the testing process, said the flight was a “huge success” in a statement on Monday. “The test … has laid a solid technological foundation for engineering applications of the waverider design,” it said. The aircraft, which landed in a designated target zone, was recovered “whole”, CAAA said. READ MORE