How Fast Is Mach 10? Explained!

Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is shown flying a future aircraft up to Mach 10 (ten times the speed of sound) in the opening sequence of Top Gun: Maverick. That plane was probably based on the still-in-use SR-71 Blackbird, an experimental supersonic jet.

Mach 10 is nearly equal the ten times the speed of sound, or 343 meters per second, or 1,125 feet per second at sea level and 20 degrees Celsius. Understanding Mach number and how it is calculated, the impact of altitude and temperature on Mach number, and some examples of Mach 10 can help you grasp the fundamentals of how far Mach 10 is.

How Fast Is Mach 10?

The fastest aircraft in the world have hypersonic speeds, exceeding ten times the speed of sound. Former Navy test pilot Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is shown pushing his futuristic Darkstar jet past Mach 10 in the Top Movie Gun: Maverick. But not everyone has ever been able to fly an airplane so high inside the atmosphere. The SR-71 Blackbird, which achieved 2,193.2 mph (3,529.6 kph) in 1976, was the closest anything ever came.

Unsurprisingly, no one has achieved the hypersonic speed inside an airplane because most supersonic weapons are still in the testing phase.

It is difficult to get there, but once you get, it is easy to lose your balance and die. The body is not intended to withstand such a strong acceleration. Because of this, many people who try to fly that quickly are forced to eject from their aircraft before taking off.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that as a hypersonic jet achieves these greater speeds, the airflow surrounding it changes significantly, which has an impact on how much power the aircraft requires to operate at these high rates. More specifically, the flow becomes more erratic. So, the engines on these aircraft must be extraordinarily strong, effective, and robust. Alloys that can bear this kind of temperature and pressure, such as hardened nickel-titanium, are utilized to build the materials used to make them. The resulting jets are so strong that they can quickly transport both people and cargo to the edge of space. It is also a key tool in the U.S. military’s inventory since they can fire missiles and other projectiles at targets around the world. 

In the same way, satellites are launched in the orbits. These aircrafts can carry a lot of equipment in a tiny space, which makes them a crucial piece of equipment for the aerospace sector. The X-43A and the Stratolaunch Talon-A, which can launch more than 500 tons of equipment into space, are the most spectacular hypersonic aircraft.

What Is the Mach Number?

The speed of an object is compared to the speed of sound in the surrounding medium using the unit less measurement known as the Mach number. It bears the name of Austrian scientist Ernst Mach, who made a substantial contribution to the understanding of shock waves.

By dividing the object’s speed by the speed of sound in the surrounding medium, the Mach number is computed. For example, if an aircraft was travelling at 600 meters per second and the speed of sound was 343 meters per second, the mach number will be 1.75 (600/343).

How the Temperature and Altitude Effect the Mach Number?

Temperature and altitude have an impact on sound speed. The air density drops as you ascend, which slows down sound as it travels across space. Similar to this, at greater temperatures, the kinetic energy of the air molecules increases, increasing the speed of sound. Therefore, the height and temperature of the surrounding medium must be taken into account in order to compute the Mach number precisely. 

For example, the speed of sound is roughly 295 meters per second at an altitude of 10,000 meters (32,808 feet) at a temperature of -55 °C (-67 °F). So, a 5900 meter per second object would have a Mach number of 20 (5900/295).

How Far Is Mach 10?

As was already noted, Mach 10 is ten times faster than sound. Therefore, the speed of sound at the specified height and temperature must be taken into account when calculating the distance an object travels at Mach 10. Let’s say, for illustration, that the object is moving at Mach 10 at a distance of 10,000 meters and a temperature of -55 °C. The speed of sound can therefore be determined to be roughly 295 metros per second using the formula for the Mach number.

A Mach 10 object would therefore move at 2950 meters per second (295 x 10). Simply multiplying the speed by the time yields 2950 meters, which is the distance covered in one second. As a result, an object moving at Mach 10 would cover 2950 meters in a second.

Consider the distance an object travels at Mach 10 in one minute to put this into perspective. An object moving at Mach 10 would cover a distance of 177,000 meters (2950 x 60) in one minute since there are 60 seconds in a minute. This is equal to 110 miles or 177 km.

Examples of Mach 10

The extraordinary speed of March 10 has only been attained by a select few experimental rockets and aircraft. 

X-43A Hypersonic Aircraft:  It was constructed by NASA as an experimental aircraft. It broke the previous record for the fastest air-breathing aircraft in 2004. During its test flight, it accelerated to a speed of Mach 9.6 (11,205 km/h or 6,917 mph).

Russian Avant-Garde Hypersonic Missile: The Russian Avangard hypersonic missile has a top speed of Mach 27 (33,308 km/h or 20,700 mph), making it one of the fastest in the world.


What is the foundation of Mach Speed Measurement?

The foundation for the Mach speed measurement is the speed of sound in air. It is used to calculate the velocity of aircraft and other fast moving vehicles.

What is the speed of Mach 1?

Mach 1 is the speed of sound, which is approximately 1,225 km/h (761 mph) at sea level and standard temperature and pressure (STP).

How fast is Mach 10 in kilometers per second?

3.42 kilometers per second is around the speed of Mach 10.

Which vehicles can reach speeds of Mach 10?

At this time, there are no vehicles that can travel at Mach 10. On the other hand, a few hypersonic aircraft and weapons have undergone testing and have attained speeds of up to Mach 5 or 6.

What challenges must be overcome in order to create vehicles that can travel at Mach 10? 

Designing vehicles that can move at Mach 10 is challenging due to high temperatures brought on by air friction, strong aerodynamic forces, and the need for specialized materials and propulsion systems. 

What are a few potential uses for cars that can travel at Mach 10? 

Vehicles that can travel at a speed of Mach 10 can be used for a variety of purposes, including space exploration, military surveillance and strike operations, and the quick movement of people and cargo throughout the globe.

I'm a Computer Graduate. I've been working as a content writer at since October 2021. I love to plan, write and edit web content, typically to resolve customer queries. As my passion aligns with our site's vision, I'm trying to provide quality content with all the latest information to answer your questions and clear up your confusion through this platform.

Leave a Comment