Centre for Hypersonics



  • SCRAMSPACE is a 1.8 metre-long free-flying hypersonic scramjet – and the research project that surrounds it.
  • Scramjets are air-breathing engines that travel at hypersonic speeds.
  • The SCRAMSPACE is designed to operate at 8600km/h or eight times the speed of sound (Mach 8).

What happens now?

  • All going well, in August 2013, the scramjet will be carefully packaged and sent, via air post, 14,600km away to Norway.
  • The scramjet will reach an altitude of 340 kilometres by a two-stage rocket. After leaving the atmosphere, it will separate from the rocket and reorient for re-entry.
  • On the return flight, the team will have a three-second window to collect key data from various flight sensors, before the scramjet disintegrates.
  • This data will provide insights into hypersonic physics, hypersonic combustion, performance of materials and components and how hypersonic vehicles will be designed to fly in the future.
  • Lab tests on the various test components have so far been positive, but the real-life launch is considered the ultimate test.

Other background

  • SCRAMSPACE was the first and largest project funded by the Australian Space Research Program.
  • Australia has a reputation for world-class hypersonics.
  • The team is a $14 million international consortium of partners in five countries, Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan and USA, and led by The University of Queensland's Centre for Hypersonics.
  • The core objective is to build capacity and capability, in particular a talent pool, for the Australian space and aerospace industry.