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Aussies trumpet scramjet success

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The team behind Saturday's scramjet test in South Australia have hailed it as a success. They are now preparing another trial of the experimental technology for Wednesday.

University of Queensland and QinetiQ engineers are poring over telemetry from the short, vertically downward, flight of Hyshot III. The scientists say it will be months before they have fully processed all the data, but that initial indications were that it had followed its “nominal trajectory”.

The engine was flown 330km up by a conventional rocket, and needed to be travelling at more than five times the speed of sound to kickstart the air-breathing scramjet. Hyshot III then accelerated to around 9000km/h before slamming into the desert.

A recovery team will set out this week to try and recover what remains of the £1m jet, thought to have impacted some 400km away from the Woomera launch site.

Wednesday's lauch will be of a different design, the Hyshot IV, backed by the Japanese Space Agency JAXA.

Watch the Hyshot III launch here (.mov). ®

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