Tech

May 10, 2012

HIFiRE scramjet research flight will advance hypersonic technology

Courtesy photograph
The Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program launches an experimental hypersonic scramjet vehicle from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii during a recent research flight. The program is a joint effort between Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA and Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation aimed at exploring the fundamental technologies needed to achieve practical hypersonic flight.

An international team that includes NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is celebrating the successful launch of an experimental hypersonic scramjet research flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.

NASA, AFRL and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation are working with a number of partners on the HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program) program to advance hypersonic flight – normally defined as beginning at Mach 5 – five times the speed of sound.

The research program is aimed at exploring the fundamental technologies needed to achieve practical hypersonic flight. Being able to fly at hypersonic speeds would revolutionize high speed to long distance flight and provide more cost-effective access to space.

During the experiment the scramjet climbed to approximately 100,000 feet in altitude, accelerated from Mach 6 to Mach 8 and operated about 12 seconds – a huge accomplishment for flight at hypersonic speeds. It was the fourth of a planned series of up to 10 flights under HIFiRE and the second focused on scramjet engine research.

The HIFiRE 2 scramjet research payload included a hypersonic inward turning inlet, followed by a scramjet combustor and dual-exhaust nozzle. In other words it looked sort of like a giant mechanical alligator with its jaws open or an old-fashioned clothespin – the kind without the metal clip. Over 700 instruments on board recorded and transmitted data to researchers on the ground. The payload was developed under a partnership between the AFRL and NASA, with contributions from the Navy’s detachment at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. and ATK GASL located in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

“This is the first time we have flight tested a hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet accelerating from Mach 6.5 to Mach 8,” said NASA Hypersonics Project Scientist Ken Rock, based at NASA’S Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. “The test will give us unique scientific data about scramjets transitioning from subsonic to supersonic combustion – something we can’t simulate in wind tunnels.”

The data collected during the execution of the HIFiRE experiments is expected to make a significant contribution to the development of future high-speed air-breathing engine concepts and help improve design, modeling, and simulation tools.

The success of the three-stage launch system, consisting of two Terrier boost motors and an Oriole sustainer motor, is another significant achievement of the HIFiRE 2 mission. The HIFiRE 2 mission, the first flight of this sounding rocket configuration, opens the door for a new high-performance flight configuration to support future Air Force, Navy, and NASA flight research.

The HIFiRE team has already achieved some significant milestones such as the design, assembly and extensive pre-flight testing of the hypersonic vehicles and the design of complex avionics and flight systems. This successful flight test of a hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet research combustor represents yet another significant achievement for the HIFiRE program, with additional test flights scheduled in the coming months and years.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>