Though Australia is the world's leader in development of the scramjet, it needs partners to meet the objective of successful launch. The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) led by the University of Queensland has put together a group of 13 to test the rocket. The launch will take place above the Arctic Circle in September.
Preparation of the rocket has begun in Norway. There is a learning curve. A lot is expected to be learned from the project. Hypersonic physics and combustion is a relatively new area of research. The aim is to be able to launch satellites cheaper. The overall cost of the launch is $14 million, believed to be money well spent.
There is no doubt that participating scientists will be nervous on day zero. The two-stage rocket will leave Andoya Rocket Range and soar to 320 kilometers. When the thrusters cease it will gently fall back to earth in a swan dive. Unfortunately, the scramjet will not be salvaged. It is set to self-destruct over the ocean.
There is an air of optimism about the flight. However, it would be wise to err on the side of caution. The European Space Agency had many failures before perfecting its technology. We can only wait and see.
Technology by Ty Buchanan