Centre for Hypersonics

The Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) program investigated the fundamental science of hypersonics technology and its potential for next generation aeronautical systems. It was to designed to involve up to ten flights. HIFiRE was jointly established by DSTO and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

UQ was involved in three flights in the HIFiRE program. These tests wera also known as HyShot, V, VI and VII. The flights were planned for launch at Woomera in South Australia, or an alternative range in Andoya, Norway. The three flights were funded by a $8.5 million Smart State National and International Research Alliances partnership between UQ, the Queensland Government, Boeing and DSTO (2007-2017) . This international collaboration allowed UQ to build advanced scramjet prototypes and undertake prolonged flight tests at speeds of more than Mach 8.

HyShot V (HIFiRE 4)— A free-flying hypersonic glider

HyShot V was a hypersonic waverider designed to fly at Mach 8 (8000 km/hr). It was designed to separate from its rocket booster in space and perform controlled manoeuvres as it entered the atmosphere. This flight did not have a scramjet attached. It was about learning how to fly a hypersonic vehicle at high altitude.

This test flight was successfully completed in July 2017. Read the full story here

HyShot VI (HIFiRE 7) — A free-flying Mach 8 scramjet

HyShot VI flew on 30 March 2015. It used an up-and-down trajectory similar to HyShot flights 1-IV, but the scramjet engine separated from the rocket and entered the atmosphere on its own at about Mach 8. The scramjet was one of the new breed of three-dimensional engines designed by UQ. The HIFiRE team collected data for the flight until the payload was re-entering the atmosphere at 65 km, when telemetry was lost. Unfortunately no scramjet engine data was able to be collected.

HyShot VII (HIFiRE 8) - Sustained Mach 8 Scramjet Powered Flight

HyShot VII was to be the culmination of the other two flights. It was to be a scramjet-powered waverider vehicle and its design made use of the information learned from HyShot V and VI. A depressed trajectory was to be used for this flight and the HyShot team planned to fly the scramjet-powered vehicle horizontally for up to a minute at Mach 8. This compares with the brief experimental window of about 5 seconds for HyShot I-IV and VI. The HIFiRE program ended before the vehicle could be flown.

  • HIFiRE 7 payload

  • HIFiRE 8 payload

HIFire 7 on the launch pad