• The experimental rocket, called HiFiRE 5B, hit targeted speeds of Mach 7.5 (9,200kmph). Photo credit: The University of QueenslandThe experimental rocket, called HiFiRE 5B, hit targeted speeds of Mach 7.5 (9,200kmph). Photo credit: The University of Queensland

First successful hypersonic flight conducted at the University of Queensland

Travelling from Sydney to London in less than two hours is no longer a farfetched concept following a successful hypersonic test flight conducted by an international team, including University of Queensland researchers and students.

Researchers from UQ, Defence Science and Technology Group, the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Boeing and HiFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program) were involved in the project.  The test flight of rocket HiFiRE 5B was launched from Woomera in South Australia, achieving a speed of Mach 7.5 (9,200 kmph) and reaching a height of 278 kilometres from Earth.

Professor Michael Smart from UQ’s School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering said: "We're excited by the contributions this and future HIFiRE flights will make to the advancement of hypersonic flight technology. "

"The knowledge gained from these experiments will be applied to develop future flight vehicles and testing of advanced air-breathing hypersonic propulsion engines, known as scramjets."

Boeing’s chief scientist for hypersonics Kevin Bowcutt said the HiFiRE programme will accelerate the development of operational hypersonic systems by producing valuable scientific flight data.

Hypersonic flight could revolutionise global air travel, providing cost-effective access to space.

If you would like to find out more about research or study at the University of Queensland you can read their profile here or contact Study Options for more information.

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