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 October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 

 
Boeing photographs

Boeing-built X-37B successfully completes third flight

Unmanned spacecraft concludes record-setting 674-day mission   Boeing photograph A third mission of the Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was completed on Oct. 17, 2014, when it landed and was recovered at Vandenberg...
 
 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 




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>