Researchers are now one step closer to making hypersonic flight a reality after completing a successful hypersonic test-flightout of the Woomera Test Range in South Australia.
The experimental rocket is part of a joint research effort called the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program (HIFiRE), which is being conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Group and the US Air Force Research Laboratory with Boeing and the University of Queensland. The program is aimed at exploring the fundamental technologies critical to the realization of sustained hypersonic flight.
During its flight, the rocket reached an apogee of 278 km and achieving the targeted speed of Mach 7.5 (seven and a half times the speed of sound).
“It is a game-changing technology identified in the 2016 Defence White Paper and could revolutionize global air travel, providing cost-effective access to space,” Dr. Alex Zelinsky, Chief Defense Scientist.
The HIFiRE team has already achieved some significant milestones such as the design, assembly and pre-flight testing of the hypersonic vehicles and the design of complex avionics and flight systems. More test flights are scheduled in the next two years.
The potential to fly at hypersonic speeds could completely change the way we travel by providing high speed, long distance flights and more cost-effective access to space.