A hypersonic scramjet is all set to be launched from a site above the Arctic Circle this September. The project, led by University of Queensland is supported by Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and international research team of 13 partners and sponsors.
Scramjet will help cement the place of Australia as a world leader in developing this exciting technology. Meanwhile, University of Queensland (UQ) said in a release, the hypersonic scramjet has reached Norway for its September launch.
Australia's hypersonic scramjet has arrived in Norway, where the team will prepare it for its 8600km/h "hypersonic swan-dive" from the edge of space, said UQ.
Scramjet, which is part of the SCRAMSPACE research project, is scheduled for launch on a day between September 15 and 21, subject to weather and testing.
SCRAMSPACE Director and Chair for Hypersonics at UQ, Professor Russell Boyce said the shipment to the launch site in Norway was an important milestone towards the much-anticipated launch of the $14 million research project.
"The payload arrives this week and the plan is for work to commence at the range on Monday, with a full rehearsal on Saturday, Sept 14," Professor Boyce said.
"We are extremely excited about the potential impact of the data that could come out of this test flight," Professor Boyce added.
Apart from testing the scramjet technology, data collected during the scramjet's short test flight will give insights into hypersonic physics, hypersonic combustion, performance of materials and components, and how these vehicles will fly in future.
"This is a three-year, $14 million project with the potential to deliver solutions for making sending satellites into space cheaper and more efficient."
"The team can't wait to get started," he said.
The scramjet will be launched at Andoya Rocket Range, 300km north of the Arctic Circle.
Following launch, the spacecraft will reach an altitude of 320 kilometres, powered by a two-stage rocket. After leaving the atmosphere, the scramjet vehicle will separate from the rocket and, using small thrusters, orient itself for the re-entry for what SCRAMSPACE design engineer Paul Van Staden describes as a "hypersonic swan dive".
During the return flight, gravity will accelerate the vehicle to Mach 8 - about 8600km/h. This is when the team will collect the most valuable data, before the scramjet self-destructs over the sea.
Professor Boyce said the scramjet had the potential to solve international aerospace challenges, and to maintain Australia's position as a world leader in scramjet research.
"As part of the Australian Space Research Program, this project supports Australia's access to space, as helps build the talent pool of engineers, scientists and specialists we need to do it," he said.
Partners in the program include UQ, the University of New South Wales, the University of Adelaide, the University of Southern Queensland and the University of Minnesota.
It also includes Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation, which has assisted with design, testing, certification, training access to equipment and software, intake and combustor design, previous guiding flight data from HIFiRE and is responsible for conducting the Defence Trial in which Scramspace is flown; industry partners BAE Systems, Teakle Composites and AIMTEK; aerospace agencies and research organisations from Germany (DLR), Japan (JAXA) and Italy (CIRA); and the Australian Youth Aerospace Association.
To contact the editor, e-mail: