Centre for Hypersonics

The HyShot Flight Program is an experiment designed to develop a correlation between pressure measurements made of supersonic combustion in The University of Queensland's T4 shock tunnel, and that which is observed in flight. 

This correlation is being developed with a scramjet configuration that retains the essential components for supersonic combustion. 

Five flights were made 

  • HyShot I was launched on 30 October 2001
  • HyShot II was launched on 30 July 2002
  • HyShot III was launched on 25 March 2006
  • HyShot IV was launched on 30 March 2006
  • HyCAUSE was launched on 15 June 2007

Supersonic combustion was achieved in the HyShot II and III flights. Analysis of results from the 2007 HyCAUSE launch is ongoing.

The HyShot launches used a two stage Terrier-Orion Mk70 rocket to boost the payload and the empty Orion motor (the Orion motor remains attached to the payload) to an apogee of approximately 330 km.  As the spent motor and its attached payload falls back to Earth, they gather speed.  The trajectory is designed so that between 35 km and 23 km, they are traveling at Mach 7.6.  It is during this part of the trajectory that the measurements of supersonic combustion are made. HyCause used a Talos-Castor launcher with a target Mach number of 10. All flights were launched from the Woomera Test Facility in South Australia.

Pressure measurements are the primary means for obtaining the correlation.  In the HyShot I and II launches, approximately 40 measurements were made in and around the engine. 

Gaseous Hydrogen is used as the fuel.  As the combustion process in the scramjet is dependent on the ambient pressure, a highly parabolic trajectory with a near vertical decent during the test time was chosen, so that a correlation could be developed over an envelope of ambient pressures.  In addition to the scientific merits, a vertical trajectory is also more cost efficient and there are less structural difficulties resulting from the lower heat and dynamic loads. 

The approach being taken by The University of Queensland is new and has opened a new era in flight testing hypersonic air-breathing engines.

HyShot I Launch 30 October 2001

HyShot II launch 30 July 2002

HyShot III launch 25 March 2006




HyShot IV launch 30 March 2006

HyCAUSE launch 15 June 2007