In aerodynamics, a hypersonic speed is one that is highly supersonic (even though the origin of the words is the same: "super" is just the Latin version of the Greek "hyper"). Since the 1970s, the term has generally been assumed to refer to speeds of Mach 5 and above.
The precise Mach number at which a craft can be said to be flying at hypersonic speed varies, since individual physical changes in the airflow (like molecular dissociation and ionization) occur at different speeds; these effects collectively become important around Mach 5. The hypersonic regime is often alternatively defined as speeds where ramjets do not produce net thrust.
Famous quotes containing the word speed:
“There exist certain individuals who are, by nature, given purely to contemplation and are utterly unsuited to action, and who, nevertheless, under a mysterious and unknown impulse, sometimes act with a speed which they themselves would have thought beyond them.”
—Charles Baudelaire (18211867)