The University of Queensland will lead a $14 million international consortium aimed at developing scramjet access-to-space systems capable of flying at speeds up to Mach 8.
Chief investigator and project director Professor Russell Boyce of UQ said the project would answer key scientific and technological questions and build an industry-ready talent pool for a future Australian scramjet based access-to-space industry.
“Our flight will build on the hypersonic flight experiments that have already been conducted by Australia, and will fly an exciting scramjet concept at the entry point to the scramjet access-to-space Mach range,” said Professor Boyce.
“The knowledge we gain will position us for future, higher speed flights, but will also feed back into current efforts at the lower speeds.”
The project has been awarded $5 million in phase one of the Australian Space Research Program — the largest grant — and also attracts $9 million from an international partnership consortium, which includes Italy’s CIRA, DLR of Germany and the Australian DSTO.
Scramjets are air-breathing engines capable of travelling at hypersonic speeds, greater than Mach 5. Scramjet based launch systems offer considerable promise for safe, reliable and economical access to space.