A $14 million international consortium led by the University of Queensland is leveraging Australia’s world leadership in scramjet technology to develop a new type of scramjet engine capable of reaching Mach 8 (8,600km/h).
Scramjets – or supersonic combustion ramjets - are air-breathing engines capable of travelling at hypersonic speeds beyond Mach 5. The engines offer a safe, reliable and economical means for accessing space for launches of communication satellites.
The Scramjet-based access-to-space systems project is the initial phase of a 20-year project to establish a future Australian scramjet-based access-to-space industry and industry-ready talent pool. It has already achieved success in this with a cohort of highly talented people assembled to work on the project. By addressing key scientific and technological questions, the consortium will conduct a world-first flight-test of a free-flying scramjet at Mach 8, and ground-tests at up to Mach 14.
Cutting-edge research such as this will prove vital in strengthening Australia’s space sector in the future as it seeks to develop space-related capabilities and enhance our international reputation. With a successful outcome, the project will gain global recognition and potentially inspire the next generation of aerospace engineers to consider a career in this field.