SR-91 Aurora

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SR-91 "Aurora"
Role Strategic Reconnaissance Aircraft
Manufacturer Rubin Design Aerospace
First flight 2007
Status Testing
Primary users U.S. Air Force
International Space Agency
Produced 2007 to present
Number built 7
Unit cost $2.42 billion (approx.)
Developed from SR-71 Blackbird
North American X-15
XB-70 Valkyrie

The Rubin Design SR-91 is an advanced, high-altitude strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed by Rubin Design Defense Systems for use by the United States Air Force. It provides day and night, high-altitude (120,000 feet ASL and above), all-weather surveillance. The aircraft is also being developed for future use in satellite calibration, and satellite data validation.


Design and operational details

Air inlets




Life support

Sensors and payloads

Operational history

Flight test program

SR-91 Aurora Performance
Longest Flight:
Fastest Speed:
Highest Altitude:
Highest Mach Number: Mach 9.05
Sustained Mach 9:
Mach 9 total:


Popular Culture


Aurora spyplane 3-view.jpg

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 (1 pilot, 1 reconnaissance systems officer)
  • Length: 35 m (115 ft)
  • Wingspan: 20 m (65 ft)
  • Height: 6 m (19 ft)
  • Wing area: 300 m² (3,200 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 29,480 kg (65,000 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 71,215 kg (157,000 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 157,000 lb (71,215 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4× Pratt & Whitney J58-1 afterburning turbojets, 32,500 lbf (267 kN est.) each
  • High Speed Powerplant: 4× ramjets, scramjets or pulse detonation engines


  • Maximum speed: unknown at sea level (Mach 10 at altitude)
  • Range: 9,320 mi (15,000 km)
  • Service ceiling: 40,000 m (131,000 ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.70 est.

Fuel types

  • JP-7 or JP-8
  • Methane, LH2 or hydrogen fuel cells.
  • Possible use of liquid oxygen and hydrogen oxides.
  • Possible use of MHD (Magnetohydrodynamics) technology.

Other equipment

  • Cameras
  • IR sensors
  • Other advanced recon sensors