Scramjet Finally Tested at Mach 10
Reuters reported that an experimental scramjet engine was successfully tested in a joint effort between the US and Australia defense scientists. It attained speeds of up to 6,835 miles (11,000 km) per hour, or 10 times the speed of sound, during trials in Australia's outback, defense scientists said on Friday. Since this is Audioholics, we thought our readers might be interested in other technologies that make use of sound... or at least some that break the speed of sound...
The scramjet is an experimental engine which has a supersonic combustion
engine that takes in air at supersonic (faster than the speed of sound) speeds and outputs exhaust through a nozzle at even higher speeds (causing propulsion). They must operate in thin atmosphere, above the altitudes attained by commercial jetliners. This particular technology is being developed by Australian and U.S. defense scientists who hope this will lead to super-high speed flight.
Since scramjets require supersonic speeds in order to function, scientists from Australia's defense Science and Technology Organization and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) used a conventional rocket to launch the scramjet high above the Woomera test site. The scramjet engine was then activated as it reached speeds of Mach 10.
"All the indications are it was a success, and we have some very happy scientists," an Australian defense spokesman told Reuters on Friday.
Flight data will be examined over coming weeks and compared to ground tests conducted in the United States, DARPA chief researcher Steven Walker said in a statement.
"We are pleased with this joint effort between the U.S. and Australia and believe that a hypersonic airplane could be a reality in the not too distant future," Walker said.
The technology is mostly expected to be used for defense, though some scientists are hoping the commercial applications will eventually be possible and reusable hybrid systems will one day be realized.