/javascript" src="static/js/analytics.js"> Faster than sound -Woomera scramjet testing

January 10, 2002: Aussie scientists help develop Mars probe robots.

January 11, 2002: Nuke leak at Australian uranium mine

December 31, 2001: Documents reveal 1950's Oz nerve gas tests.

Belconnen: A Secret NATO Base in Australia?

The Kelly Cahill Encounter.
Cahill's encounter occurred in 1993 when she was driving past a strip of grassy land in Melbourne.

February 26, 2002. Kangaroo hunters join search for scramjet. (From the Herald Sun Melbourne. By Michelle Poutney.)

A kangaroo survey will be on the look-out for an unusual target in the Australian dessert this week.

Queensland University zoology researchers will help rocket science colleagues search for the remains of the Hyshot scramjet experiment that disappeared during a test last October.

Two teams will carry out an air-to-ground search to find the 1.6 metre scramjet payload and the 4m second stage booster rocket in a area measuring thousands of square kilometres.

The zoologists conduct an extensive aerial survey of kangaroos each year.

Scramjets are air-breathing, supersonic combustion engines that could revolutionise space flight.

October 30, 2001. Faster than sound: scramjet testing in Australia.

(From the Herald Sun Melbourne. Stories by Brady Haran and Michelle Poutney.)

Woomera rocket range in Australia tested a revolutionary jet-engine today in an attempt to write itself into aviation history.

If successful it would be the first atmospheric test of a supersonic combustion ramjet, also known as a scramjet (Super-sonic Combustion Ramjet).

It is a machine capable of reaching more than eight times faster than sound, or 2.6km a second. The feat would compare with breaking the sound barrier in 1947.

NASA failed when it tested a scramjet in June 2001.A more recent test by NASA saw a scramjet travel under its own power for a split second which was a huge leap forward. The Australian tests were being carried out at a fraction of the cost of NASA's.

The scramjet would lead to cheaper satellite launches and faster flights on domestic airlines. For example, the journey from Adelaide to London would be cut to just two hours.

The Hyshot project is being undertaken by the University of Queensland's hypersonics department. "We are very busy preparing at the moment," chief engineer Dr. Hans Alesi said. "But when we have a spare moment to reflect, there is a real feeling that we are on the verge of history," he said.

The scramjet, dreamed up in the 1950's is a simple machine that burns only oxygen from the air and hydrogen carried on board. The jet's engine converts oxygen to fuel. The only bi-product of the scram jet is water.

The scramjet is also set to revolutionize the launch of small space 'pay-loads'.

The test was aimed at launching the scramjet with another rocket which at an optimum altitude (about 35km) and speed would able the scramjets engines to kick in. The scramjet would then be shot toward the earth at astonishing velocity.

The Terrier Orion rocket that carried the revolutionary engine into space experienced flight problems before the experiment was carried out.

During its fall to earth the scramjet engine was supposed to ignite as air rushing into the engine at speeds faster than sound combusted hydrogen fuel.

The first stage rocket fell 2km down the range and the second stage-boost rocket disappeared into the desert. Telemetry data and other information allowed project leader Dr Allan Paull to calculate the likely impact area.

It is believed the scramjet payload fitted on the rocket survived the journey until the return to earth.

A second test launch had been planned for next week, but will not go ahead until the cause of the flight problem has been identified and fixed.

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