Hypersonic superjet technology successfully tested in Australia

Posted on:20 May 2016 09:29:22
Hypersonic superjet technology successfully tested in Australia
20 May 2016 Current Affairs: A joint US-Australian military research team successfully tested a hypersonic technology in the Australian desert. In the test, scramjet attached to a rocket booster was successfully sent to an altitude of 278 km at Mach 7.5 (seven times the speed of sound). The team was running a series of 10 trials of the hypersonic technology at the world’s largest land testing range located at Woomera in Australia and at Norway’s Andoya Rocket Range.

Hypersonic flight involves travelling at more than 5 times the speed of sound (Mach 5). For this purpose, scientists working in the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) programme are developing an engine that can fly at Mach 7 speed. HiFiRE programme consists of a scramjet engine attached to a rocket booster.

Scramjet : It is a supersonic combustion engine that uses oxygen from the atmosphere for fuel. It is lighter and faster than fuel-carrying rockets and is suitable for flying at hypersonic (Mach 5 and above) speed. Scramjet engines do not have moving parts. It has rotating compressor and turbine in a jet engine. In the engine, air is compressed and expanded by complex systems of shockwaves located in front of the aircraft.

Significance : It is a game-changing technology that could revolutionise global air travel, and also provide cost-effective access to space. It can be very useful as an alternative to a rocket for putting satellites into space.

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