A scramjet engine built by QinetiQ is set to power a rocket over the Woomera range in Australia at speeds over Mach 7 tomorrow, March 25.
The experimental HyShot III flight is being conducted by The University of Queensland (UQ) as part of an international space project. The scramjet will be used to launch a Terrier Orion rocket.
Scramjets are air-breathing supersonic combustion ramjet engines which could lower the cost of launching small space payloads, such as communication satellites. They could also substantially reduce the times of long-distance passenger flights – a journey from London to Sydney would take just two hours.
UQ led the international HyShot program which demonstrated the world’s first supersonic combustion in atmospheric flight at speeds over Mach 8. Tomorrow’s flight is designed to reach Mach 7.6, 10 times as fast as conventional jet engines.
The flight aims to confirm data captured in ground shock tunnel tests in a more realistic environment.