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Australian Hypersonic Project Set for Launch From Woomera

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
May 18, 2011
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HiFire scramjet vehicle

Aviation Business has an update on Australia’s SCRAMSPACE project:

Australia’s own hypersonic jet project is on track for launch at Woomera late next year, having just passed a major design review.

According to Dr Sandy Tirtey, the Technical Lead and focal point of the project team, the scramjet has passed its preliminary concept development phase.

“We have another design review set for July and are aiming at the Critical Design Review in October this year,” Dr Tirtey said….

SCRAMSPACE has attracted five million dollars of ASRP funding and is also supported by nine million dollars from an international partnership consortium.

As a backgrounder, I’ve found the following abstract from Sandy Tirtey, one of the engineers involved in the project. It provides a good overview.

Sandy Tirtey, Group for Hypersonics, Mechanical and Mining Engineering Department

With the work performed by the Australian hypersonic community, including universities, industry and the Defence Science & Technology Organisation, Australia is internationally recognised as a world leader in this field of research and development. Current ground-based and flight programs conducted in Australia (for example, HyShot and HIFiRE) are addressing low to midrange technology readiness levels for scramjet-powered atmospheric flight, at Mach 8. The ultimate aim however is to reach high technology readiness levels for access to space, and this requires scramjet vehicles that can operate at much higher Mach numbers, to accelerate a vehicle to the speed required to leave the earth’s atmosphere. No scramjet designs have been flight tested at these extreme speeds before now. The gap cannot be easily closed in one leap, and a stepping-stone approach is required.

The SCRAMSPACE I flight experiment aims to deliver and study an advanced free-flying scramjet flight experiment at the entry point to the Mach 8-14 access-to-space range for scramjets. An innovative and commercially-attractive axisymmetric scramjet concept, explored jointly by UQ and DSTO, has been selected for this mission.

Furthermore, the SCRAMSPACE program is setup to enhance the aerothermodynamic tools for design and validate from flight results the validity of our ground facility and computational simulations based extrapolation-to-flight methodology. These capabilities are critical to the process of extending our scramjet technology to higher speed, and ultimately to the realisation of hybrid access-to-space launch systems.

Finally, the SCRAMSPACE program also provides a technical framework, including high temperature materials with embedded sensors and novel laser-based passenger experimental payloads to the hypersonic flight test.