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HiFIRE Scramjet Project Progressing at Woomera

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
December 24, 2009
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HiFire scramjet vehicle

HiFire scramjet vehicle

New materials designed to deal with hypersonic and supersonic hot stuff

Previous Australian experimental flight tests of scramjets, a type of very fast jet engine, have not lasted longer than five seconds….

However, further experimental tests are planned in 2011 through to 2013 in the HiFIRE series at Woomera using free-flying engines and eventually, a whole free-flying vehicle which will generate enough thrust to fly for a minute.

The leader of UQ’s Hyshot scramjet experiment program and UQ Professor in Hypersonic Propulsion, Professor Michael Smart said the project was testing new composite materials for the longer flights at Mach 8 (eight times the speed of sound).

“If they can fly for a minute, they can fly for an hour,” he said. “A scramjet-powered vehicle could fly between London and Australia in two hours so we’re looking at materials that can survive hypersonic speeds for longer periods.”

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