Press Release

HyShot team to continue scramjet research

By SpaceRef Editor
November 2, 2001
Filed under ,

The University of Queensland has welcomed moves by the Federal Industry,
Science and Resources Minister Nick Minchin to clear the way for another
HyShot scramjet experiment.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said he appreciated the
minister’s efforts to move as quickly as possible on the investigation
into flight anomalies of the October 30 rocket launch at Woomera.

This investigation effectively means a second rocket launch scheduled
for next week will now have to be postponed.

Although the October 30 launch was conducted successfully, the rocket
experienced a flight anomaly which meant the scramjet experiment could
not go ahead. Nevertheless, HyShot team leader Dr Allan Paull said there
were still many positives to come out of the exercise.

“It was an achievement just to get the payload to the rocket launch
site,” Dr Paull said.

“Furthermore, we gathered valuable data during the rocket flight and I
was encouraged by the fact the scramjet payload survived the journey
until the rocket returned to earth.

“This will help us plan for the next experimental launch, whenever that
may be. A lot depends on what further funding we can secure.”

Scramjets are air-breathing supersonic combustion ramjet engines which
could revolutionise the launch of small space payloads such as
communication satellites by substantial lowering costs.

The HyShot program has helped establish Australia at the forefront of
hypersonic technological research. HyShot’s scientific achievements have

* The development of a working scramjet payload suitable for flight at
nearly 8 times the speed of sound;

* The ground testing of the scramjet in The University of Queensland’s
T4 shock tunnel in vacuum conditions likely to exist in space;

* The development and testing of a method to reorient a rocket in space
so that it can fly in a new configuration, pointing the scramjet payload
back down to earth;

* The solution of difficult engineering problems related to the nose cone
eject system, revealing the scramjet payload;

* The development of instrumentation for transmitting flight data.

University of Queensland researchers were the first to report a successful
“flight” of a scramjet in a ground shock tunnel facility in 1993.


For more information contact:
Peter McCutcheon at UQ Communications on 07 3365 1088 or 0413 380012

SpaceRef staff editor.