In a hypersonic shock tunnel, Hypersonix Launch Systems’ SPARTAN fifth generation scramjet engine demonstrated that it can accelerate up to 10 times the speed of sound in real-world flight conditions.
At the University of Queensland’s world-class T4 shock tunnel test facility in Brisbane, Hypersonix Launch Systems (Hypersonix) performed 111 ground firing tests for the SPARTAN scramjet engine.
The specific impulse of an engine or rocket is a measure of its thrust and performance. The SPARTAN scramjet engine runs on hydrogen and has a five-fold higher ISP than a conventional rocket.
SPARTAN is a Green hydrogen-powered composite self-igniting reusable scramjet engine. SPARTAN will be used to power a reusable satellite launch system that will carry payloads to LEO in an environmentally friendly manner.
Since the 1960s, Australia has been conducting hypersonic research. Professor Ray Stalker AO developed a method for producing hypersonic velocities in the laboratory by using a shock tunnel with free-piston compression.
Hypersonix received a Commercialisation grant from the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources last year to help accelerate the commercialization of its world-leading scramjet technology and gain access to the global small satellite launch market.
The positive results of SPARTAN’s shock tunnel experiments are a big step forward in commercializing Hypersonix’s revolutionary technology.
“We’re thrilled with the results,” said Hypersonix CEO and co-founder David Waterhouse. “We put our SPARTAN scramjet through 111 shock tunnel test shots from Mach 5 to Mach 10 and it came through with flying colours, validating our latest design.” Mr Waterhouse said.
“These tests show our fixed geometry scramjet can accelerate to high speeds and deliver high ISP in real flight conditions.”
“Launching satellites into LEO in a green and sustainable way has not been attempted before. Most businesses in the emerging small satellite market are using single use rockets with high pollution to deliver their payloads,” said Hypersonix Research and Development Head, and co-founder, Dr Michael Smart.
“We will be using 100% Green hydrogen to fuel our scramjets. Hydrogen is more efficient and cleaner than other rocket fuels. SPARTAN will power Delta-Velos, a re-usable aircraft that is capable of flying to space like a commercial cargo plane, just a lot faster than any other cargo plane that has ever flown before.
“Think of being able to travel from Sydney to New York in two and a half hours and you have an idea of the speeds our SPARTAN scramjet is capable of achieving.”