Hypersonic jet ready for launch

Discussion in 'Boats, Planes, Other' started by CitroenSM, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Quote from bbcnews.com;

    Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 13:18 GMT

    Hypersonic jet ready for launch
    Jonathan Fildes
    BBC News science and technology reporter

    A new jet engine design able to fly seven times the speed of sound is to be test fired over Australia on Friday.

    The scramjet engine, known as Hyshot III, has been designed by British defence firm Qinetiq.

    If successful, it could pave the way for ultrafast, intercontinental air travel, and substantially cut the cost of putting small payloads into space.

    The engine will launch on a rocket owned and operated by the University of Queensland.

    It is the first of three test flights planned for this year by the international Hyshot consortium.

    The first Hyshot engine was launched in 2001 but the test flight failed when the rocket carrying the engine flew off course.

    Simple engines

    A supersonic combustion ramjet, or scramjet, is mechanically very simple. It has no moving parts and takes all of the oxygen it needs to burn hydrogen fuel from the air.

    This makes it more efficient than conventional rocket engines as they do not need to carry their own oxygen supply, meaning that any vehicle could potentially carry a larger payload.

    However scramjets do not begin to work until they reach five times the speed of sound.

    At this speed the air passing through the engine is compressed and hot enough for ignition to occur. Rapid expansion of the exhaust gases creates the forward thrust.

    To reach the critical speed, Hyshot III will be strapped to the front of a conventional rocket and blasted to an altitude of 330km before being allowed to plummet back to Earth.

    On its descent the engine is expected to reach a top speed of Mach 7.6 or over 9,000km/ hour.

    Making sure the flight happens correctly is incredibly difficult, according to Dr Allan Paull, project leader of the Hyshot programme at the University of Queensland.

    "You are dealing with extremes of conditions. You're working out on the edge and with a lot of the stuff no one has ever tried [it] before," he told the BBC News website. "You've got to expect things to go wrong".

    If everything goes to plan, the experiment will begin at a height of 35km. As the engine continues its downward path the fuel in the scramjet is expected to automatically ignite.

    The scientists will then have just six seconds to monitor its performance before the £1m engine eventually crashes into the ground.

    New design

    The scramjet will not provide forward thrust during the flight, necessary if the engine is ever to power a vehicle. But the test will be enough to show that burning starts automatically and to verify trials already done in a wind tunnel.

    "The wind tunnels operate for milliseconds," Dr Paull explained. "The difficulty is whether or not you can even see the supersonic combustion in this period of time."

    Although the Qinetiq engine has never left the ground it is more realistic than previous Hyshot experiments.

    It has a more efficient air intake on the front and can operate over a greater range of speeds. It also scoops air into the combustion chamber at a lower temperature, closer to that needed in a commercially useful engine.

    If the test flight is successful, it will be followed four days later by the test flight of another Hyshot engine designed by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa). This will be followed in June by the launch of an engine that will fly at Mach 10, designed by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).

    Commercial reality

    The Hyshot tests will bring the idea of a commercial scramjet one step closer to reality.

    In the first instance these would probably be used to launch satellites into low earth orbit but many have speculated that they could also allow passenger airlines to fly between London and Sydney in just 2 hours.

    Although this vision maybe many years off, it was given a huge boost when Nasa successfully flew its X-43A plane over the Pacific Ocean in 2004. The unmanned aircraft flew at 10 times the speed of sound, a new world speed record.

    The team at the University of Queensland is also currently designing a vehicle that can fly under its own power.

    If the plane works, it could be flying over the Australian desert within the next two years.



    End quote

    Picturetext:
    1. Two-stage rocket lifts the scramjet engine to altitude of 330km
    2. Rocket free-falls back to Earth, reaching speeds of Mach 8
    3. Experiment takes place at Mach 7.6 between 35-23km from ground and lasts 6 seconds
     
  2. im pretty certain scramjets have been around for ages
     
  3. UQ did a test launch of one YEARs ago.
     
  4. � once had a hypersonic jet, sold it on ebay, true story.
     
  5. #5 Aaron, Mar 23, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
  6. Apparently the aurora spy plane has a scramjet. That's if it's real.
     
  7. Sigh. Aurora was a budget allocation. The money was for the stealth bomber competition.
     
  8. That sounds like a dumb government cover-up answer
     
  9. So, are they going to have it land in water or on the ground. because that would be crazy watching something crash at 9,000 km/h.
     
  10. no, they are going to land it in the air.
     
  11. V1 Rocket created by the Nazis in world war 2
     
  12. That was not a scram jet. It was a pulse jet.
     
  13. lynx jet
     
  14. My dad made almost that exact same error, but with ramjet instead of scramjet. It was the first (and so far only) time I have ever corrected him on something regarding WWII aircraft.
     
  15. get rid of that goddamn avatar
     
  16. making the engine isn't the hard part. making a body with skin strong enough to stand up to the temperatures at those speeds is.
     

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