Russia's claim of hypersonic missile

This claim of a missile that can travel 27 times the speed of sound…or roughly 20,700 mph is demonstrably BS. That’s about the speed at which a meteor would enter our atmosphere and they generally disintegrate on entry from friction heat. I’d take this claim with the same amount of salt as I’d take the Russian’s claim to have “invented” baseball during Czarist Russia or that they invented the telephone 20 years before Alexander G. Bell did.

I’d heard that they claimed to have created a hypersonic “stealth” cruise missile (it might be “stealth” for radar, but it would glow like the sun in infrared); I hadn’t heard any claim of mach 27. It might be a garbled media report (they manage that often enough) that was supposed to be mach 2.7 (which isn’t actually hypersonic). Twenty-plus-thousand mph is in excess of orbital velocity.

As far as the friction heat is concerned, while it would be a tough problem at lower altitudes (which is the only place where that 20,700 mph is close to mach 27; at the tropopause (36,000 feet) and higher, mach 27 is approximately 17,800 mph), orbital reentry occurs at around 17,000 mph, and although I don’t know the exact speed, reentry from the moon landings was significantly higher (closer to Earth’s escape velocity, which is approximately 25,000 mph). So it can be done.