Generation Orbit Awarded Contract for GO1 Flight Testing

Credit: Generation Orbit

ATLANTA, April 7, 2017 (GO PR) – Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the award of a Follow-On Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division (AFRL/RQH) for development and flight testing of the GOLauncher 1 (GO1).


The Year in Suborbital Launches

The New Shepard capsule separates from its booster as the abort motor fires. (Credit: Blue Origin)
The New Shepard capsule separates from its booster as the abort motor fires. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Although orbital launch vehicles get all the glory (and infamy when they fail), 2016 was also a busy year for the far less glamorous suborbital launch sector. There were 19 suborbital launches at various sites around the world, and two more sounding rocket launches of note where the payload didn’t go above 100 km.

U.S. Air Force Develops Hypersonic Technology Road Map

X-51A hypersonic vehicle

The U.S. Air Force has developed a decadal technological road map for hypersonic vehicles that will help to focus the disparate development programs being pursued by America’s defense organizations.

However, anyone hoping this research will quickly find its way into civilian transports capable of whisking passengers from New York to Sydney in two hours is going to be disappointed. That’s likely to take a long time.


Hypersonic HIFiRE Vehicle Hits Mach 8 in Test

A successful HIFire launch. (Credit: DSTO)

CANBERRA, Australia (DSTO PR) — DSTO scientists have successfully conducted a test flight of an experimental hypersonic vehicle at the Andoya Rocket Range in Norway.

The test vehicle reached an apogee of 350 km and then achieved speeds of up to Mach 8 on descent in the experimental band which was from 20.5 km to 32 km in altitude.  All sensor and telemetry systems worked perfectly.

Scientists believe the launch could be a major step forward in the quest for hypersonic flight.

The experimental flight was undertaken as part of a joint research program, HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation), being conducted by DSTO and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.


NASA, USAF Launch HIFiRE Suborbital Vehicle From Hawaii

The Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program (HIFiRE) launches an experimental hypersonic scramjet vehicle from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii during a recent research flight. Credit: AFRL

By Kathy Barnstorff
NASA Langley Research Center

A team that includes NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is celebrating the successful launch of an experimental hypersonic scramjet research flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.


HIFiRE Scamjet Prepped for Test Flight

By John Hamilton

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. — Members from Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme division, White Sands Detachment, are working together to ready the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) Flight 2 research vehicle for launch later this year.

Preparations to fly a new high tech engine are currently underway at White Sands Missile Range.


DARPA Seeks Funding for New Hypersonic Program

DARPA is seeking FY 2013 funds to continue work on hypersonic vehicles, Aviation Week reports:

New starts planned for 2013 include the Collaborative Hypersonic Research (CHR) program to demonstrate a boost-glide vehicle as a precursor to a tactical long-range strike weapon capable of launch on a 21-in. or larger booster.

Darpa is seeking $11 million in 2013 to start the “flight experiment-intensive” CHR program, which is intended to build on the U.S./Australian HiFire multi-flight hypersonic test effort as well as the agency’s two brief HTV-2 flights. As a follow-on the HTV-2, another $38 million is sought for the hypersonic technologies program to investigate aerodynamic, materials, guidance and communications technologies for long-range hypersonic cruise.

Both Darpa projects are intended to support the Pentagon’s conventional prompt global strike program.

Read the full story.

Australian Hypersonic Project Set for Launch From Woomera

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. (more…)

Video: Project HiFire Hypersonic Vehicle


University of Queensland researchers are testing new materials to withstand the extreme heat experienced by hypersonic vehicles in flight so they can fly for substantially longer. Previous Australian experimental flight tests of scramjets, a type of very fast jet engine, have not lasted longer than five seconds. The tests, conducted at Woomera in South Australia over the past eight years, have used scramjet engines made of conventional materials which have problems with extreme heat including melting, and are not designed for re-use.


HiFIRE Scramjet Project Progressing at Woomera

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.


Scramjets Soar Aloft from Australia’s Woomera Range

HiFire scramjet vehicle
HIFiRE scramjet vehicle

The coming of age of Scramjet
Brisbane Times

Though Hyshot 1 failed in October of 2001, HyShot 2 scored big time the following year, it’s successful ignition beating NASA’s sleek $US185 million scramjet, the X43, to the punch and turning the heads of boffins around the world who had assumed NASA had the only game in town.


Hypersonic Travel Takes Leap Forward in Australian Outback

Flights of fancy at 8600km/h
Adelaide Now

Until this week, such “blink-of-an-eye” travel times were the realm of science-fiction writers but – thanks to Australian and American defence scientists – “hypersonic” travel for the masses has taken a big step forward.

At the remote Woomera Test Range in the South Australian desert this month, a metre-long hypersonic air vehicle was successfully test-flown at more than seven times the speed of sound.