Hypersonix achieves Mach 10 in ground firing tests, validates new engine design

University of Queensland spinout business Hypersonix has announced the results of new shock tunnel tests, showing their hydrogen-powered scramjet engine “can accelerate up to 10 times the speed of sound in real life flight conditions.”

One-hundred and eleven ground firing tests of the company’s fifth-generation SPARTAN engine (pictured) took place at UQ’s T4 shock tunnel facility in Brisbane. the company said on Wednesday.

CEO and co-founder David Waterhouse said he was “thrilled” with the test results of the company’s reusable composite rocket.

“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,” Waterhouse said in a statement.

“These tests show our fixed geometry scramjet can accelerate to high speeds and deliver high ISP in real flight conditions.”

“ISP” is specific impulse, a measure of how efficiently thrust is generated. 

Scramjet is an abbreviation of supersonic compression ramjet. These are air-breathing engines, and vehicles using scramjets are brought to a speed where air enters the motor and is compressed by the craft’s high velocity rather than a turbine.

Hypersonix hopes to “fly to space” using their engines, offering launches to low earth orbit for customers’ small satellites.

In March the company announced an agreement with Boeing to investigate design of a reusable, hydrogen-powered, hypersonic vehicle. Last month it officially announced a partnership with BOC on the supply of Australia-made green hydrogen.

“Most businesses in the emerging small satellite market are using single use rockets with high pollution to deliver their payloads,” said Hypersonix R&D head and co-founder Dr Michael Smart.

“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.

Picture: supplied

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