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DARPA And Australia Collaborate On Successful Hypersonic Flight Test

For a video of the test please go here.
by Staff Writers
Arlington, VA (SPX) Jun 22, 2007
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation announced that the Hypersonic Collaborative Australia/United States Experiment (HyCAUSE) program has successfully flown a hydrogen-fueled, axisymmetric, inward-turning scramjet engine. A two-stage Talos Mk-11/Castor 1 XM-33 sounding rocket lifted off June 15 from the Woomera Test Range in Southern Australia at approximately 12:05 pm. (local time).

The rocket accelerated to an altitude of 530 kilometers, and then the second stage and scramjet commenced the near-vertical descent. During the descent, the scramjet engine was lit and fired for approximately three seconds.

"This test has obtained the first-ever flight data on the inward-turning scramjet engine design. DARPA will compare this flight data to ground test data measured on the same engine configuration in the U.S. This joint effort between the U.S. and Australia has definitely increased the chance that a hypersonic airplane will be a reality someday," noted Dr. Steven Walker, deputy director of DARPA's Tactical Technology Office, and DARPA program manager for HyCAUSE.

Dr. Warren Harch, a scientist with Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation, further explained, "Hypersonic propulsion using supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) technology offers the possibility of very high speeds and fuel efficiencies. The technology has the potential to put numerous defense and civilian aerospace applications within our reach during the next couple of decades."

The HyCAUSE program is a collaborative effort between scramjet engine research engineers in Australia and the U.S. to develop innovative technologies that would provide improved scramjet performance. The HyCAUSE program focused on the development of the axisymmetric engine with an inward-turning inlet geometry, which was predicted to allow the scramjet to reach speeds of Mach 10.

A scramjet engine, short for supersonic combustion ramjet engine, is an enabling propulsion technology for sustained hypersonic flight within the atmosphere. Potential applications include hypersonic global reach capability, trans-atmospheric flight, and first-stage propulsion for a reusable launch vehicle.

The U.S. HyCAUSE team developed the unique, axisymmetric flowpath design of the scramjet engine. The U.S. team includes researchers from Pyrodyne Inc., Calspan University of Buffalo Research Center, Virginia Polytechnic University, University of Minnesota, and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) managed the Australian portion of the program, which covered the design and fabrication of the flight experiment and the flight-test itself. The Australian team was headed by researchers from DSTO and included researchers at the University of Queensland, University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, and the Australian National University.

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Air Force Continues Northrop Grumman Contract For Upper Stage Engine Program
Redondo Beach CA (SPX) Jun 20, 2007
A contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will allow Northrop Grumman to continue technology development for the Upper Stage Engine Technology (USET) program. The program's goal is to design and test a 40,000-pound thrust-class turbopump for liquid hydrogen propellants to reduce risk in future upper stage engine procurements.

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