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article imageExperimental Jet Engine reaches Mach 10 in tests

By Chris V. Thangham     Jun 16, 2007 in Technology
A joint study between Australia's DSTO and US' DARPA produces a scramjet engine, that travels in excess of Mach 10 speed. A hypersonic plane with this scramjet engine could allow travel between Sydney and London in two hours.
AN experimental jet engine traveling at up to 10 times the speed of sound reached an altitude of 530km in a 12-minute test flight in the Australian outback today.
A study is being done jointly by Australia's Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) and the United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to develop an engine, scramjet, that will be able to generate speeds in excess of Mach 10. This engine will help propel the next generation of supersonic planes that is capable of flying between Sydney, Australia and London, England in just two hours.
A scramjet - or supersonic combustion ramjet - is mechanically very simple. It has no moving parts and takes all of the oxygen it needs to burn hydrogen fuel from the air.
This scramjet was tested successfully; the engine spent 12 minutes and 15 seconds in flight today after launched from Woomera rocket range in South Australia. The engine reached speeds of Mach 10, about 11,000 km/hour during reentry to the earth’s atmosphere.
"The test has obtained the first-ever flight data on the inward-turning scramjet engine design," DARPA spokesman Steven Walker said.
Steven Walker believes that hypersonic planes with this scramjet could be a reality very soon in the near future.
Dr. Warren Harch, DSTO scientist, said besides high travel speeds, the scramjet also offers high fuel efficiency.
"This technology has the potential to put numerous defense and civilian aerospace applications within our reach during the next couple of decades," Dr Harch said.
It will be used for long range, time critical missions for defense purposes, and used for low cost satellite launching as well as for high speed passenger aircraft for civilian purposes.
More data about this test flight will be made available to the public very soon.
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