Scramspace Solace After Rocket Failure

By Guy Norris
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
November 04, 2013

As the hard-won progress in hypersonic propulsion technology can attest, the road to sustained air-breathing engines that can operate above Mach 5 is littered with five decades worth of failed tests, some more dramatic than others.

Australia's ambitious Scramspace project is the latest pioneering hypersonic project to fall victim to a flawed rocket booster that had nothing to do with the payload. The 2.5-year project ended in bitter frustration for the team on Sept. 17 at the remote northern Norwegian Andoya rocket range when the nozzle of the S30 first-stage booster disintegrated on launch, taking the guidance fins with it. From that second on, the scramjet payload was doomed and, after a short, but wildly dynamic flight, it splashed down into the sea without reaching anything near its intended test conditions.

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