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Scramjet hits Mach 10 over Australia

作者:雍踪    发布时间:2019-03-01 07:04:02    

By AFP and NewScientist.com A supersonic scramjet engine has been successfully launched from a test range in Australia. The Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) said the scramjet achieved reached 10 times the speed of sound during the test. Scramjets are supersonic combustion engines that use oxygen from the atmosphere to burn onboard fuel. By contrast, conventional rockets carry their own oxygen to burn fuel. The hope is that scramjets can be made lighter and faster than oxygen-carrying rockets. But mixing oxygen with a fuel in a supersonic airflow and then igniting it is tricky. The tests involved accelerating the scramjet to several times the speed of sound and switching it on. A rocket carrying the HyCAUSE scramjet engine blasted off from the Woomera range in South Australia on Friday. It reached an altitude of 530 kilometres before re-entering the earth’s atmosphere where the scramjet engine was successfully ignited. HyCAUSE is the Hypersonic Collaborative Australia/United States Experiment – a collaboration between the DSTO and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The ultimate goal of the tests is to design an engine that produces more thrust than drag. “It looks like we’ve been very successful,” said Steve Butler, a spokesman for the DSTO. “We’ve got to go away and collate the data, that will take a few weeks, but it looks very promising.” Aircraft flying at Mach 10 could cut travelling time between Sydney and London to as little as two hours. “This technology has the potential to put numerous defence and civilian aerospace applications within our reach during the next couple of decades,” said Warren Harch, a scientist at the DSTO. Butler said they could also slash the cost of sending satellites into space, because the weight saved by not carrying oxygen could be used to increase the payload. Next year, the DSTO and the US Air Force begin a five-year programme testing scramjet technology at the Woomera range. A number of other countries including Italy and Japan are also developing scramjets. More on these topics:

 

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