back to article Ordinary-fuel scramjet prototype suffers test failure

An innovative hypersonics programme has suffered a failure, with a prototype scramjet missile failing to perform properly and crashing into the Pacific after less than a minute in the air. HyFly dual-combustion ramjet in windtunnel tests It works well here... Aviation Week reports that a "HyFly" test airframe was launched …

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58 Seconds?

"The scramjet engine did not operate as expected and after approximately 58 seconds of flight, the vehicle impacted the ocean."

So...given the likely altitude at which the poor unsuspecting little blighter was released, is the "flight" in question akin to the "flight" demonstrated by a brick released from a block of flats...?

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jim

Hit or miss?

Did it hit the target though?

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Tim

About that windtunnel...

Ok, I'm not too familiar with current windtunnel design admittedly, however I'm amazed to read "and there have been successful windtunnel tests at Mach 6+.". Some jolly impressive fans there... pics please!

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Flame

...mainly a vast cylindrical hydrogen tank.

"As an example, the proposed A2 hydrogen hypersonic airliner is bigger than an Airbus A380 superjumbo, yet it can carry barely a third as many passengers because it is mainly a vast cylindrical hydrogen tank"

So it's basically a hypersonic zeppelin? Hindenburg we go again...

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Happy

hypersonic zeppelin?

Reformed Band Name!

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Jos

Re: About that wind tunnel

http://www.primidi.com/2008/01/04.html

Cheers,

Jos

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Stop

Hindenburg

Blew up because a static spark set fire to the fabric covering the airship. Though that is a matter of debate, and I guess the static spark could have set fire to the hydrogen cells themselves.

Airships are making a comeback, certainly they are more efficient and greener than a scramjet, which is a waste of damn time for commercial use. The ability to get a few rich f**ks from London to New York an hour or so quicker is hardly a goal worth pursuing. Ditto Branson and his useless spaceship program.

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@Tim

Hypersonic wind tunnels tend to be very small cross section tunnels (about 100cm2) attached to extremely large pressure vessels. The pressure vessel is filled with very high pressure air which is then allowed to rapidly vent through the wind tunnel. This produces hypersonic flows fro fractions of seconds or sometimes as much as a second. The airflows over the models are studied using high speed cameras and Schlieren photography.

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Anonymous Coward

@Tim

Supersonic windtunnels do indeed exist, but they don't use fans to get up all their speed. Some (if not many) use a dynamic nozzle to get the speed up in the test section, IIRC.

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Alien

Still too Cheap

Still to cheap to admit defeat and hire the boys from Queensland University from down under in Oz to fix their stupid boffins copycat engines basic design flaws , assorted mistakes and errors in getting it to work correctly !

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Oh, the humanity!

Anyway,

describing DAPRA as the "warboffinry bureau with deep pockets and a revolving door to the mad scientists' asylum" is sheer brilliance. Congrats, Mr. Page.

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Boffin

Re. Wind Tunnels

High Supersonic speed tunnels do not use fans as a more conventional low speed tunnel would. Instead they work on a pressure difference between a very high pressure vessel and a very low pressure vessel. As a result you tend to have a system that will have a run time of say up to a minute (about as long as the contraption worked, co-incidence?) rather than continuously. Essentially the faster you want a wind tunnel the shorter time it is going to run for.

On the missile front, that is not too far beyond the performance MDBA get out of the throttle able solid rocket motor fitted to the Meteor (see your local Wikipedia for more [probably inaccurate] details).

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58 seconds

That's not flying, that's not even falling with style.

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Re: About that windtunnel...

I don't know what sort of wind tunnel they're actually using, but I've heard about hypersonic test chambers powered by a huge tank of compressed gas on one side and an even larger tank evacuated down to a near vaccuum. I didn't think that they had terribly large test chambers, however.

On a side note, how many articles a week feature a mention of DARPA? Seems like they've been productive recently. At producing news, at least.

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Perfect American Missle

It didn't hit the enemy so it must have worked perfectly!

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Not a failure

The reason they test small models rather than building the real thing is for these exact situations.

Its not a failure, its part of the design process and without the valuable information which would have been gathered from this test, a fully functioning engine could never be built. For every explosion, crash and failure we get 1 step closer to a working engine.

It took Edison 100's of attempts before he got a working lightbulb.

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@ Matthew Pringle

"It took Edison 100's of attempts before he got a working lightbulb."

And recent rumour is that he stole that design. What's documented is that Francis Upton was actually the "engineering lead" in the practical incandescent bulb design, not T.A. Edison.

http://www.unmuseum.org/lightbulb.htm

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Alien

@ Nick

58 Seconds?

By Nick Palmer

Posted Thursday 7th February 2008 15:16 GMT

"The scramjet engine did not operate as expected and after approximately 58 seconds of flight, the vehicle impacted the ocean."

So...given the likely altitude at which the poor unsuspecting little blighter was released, is the "flight" in question akin to the "flight" demonstrated by a brick released from a block of flats...?

========

This is very unlikely - 60 seconds is about what it would take to drop 1.5 miles. (Keep in mind that terminal velocity is about 120 MPH.) That is not very high.

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@ George Schultz

Terminal velocity of what? I'm pretty sure that the terminal velocity of a feather is much slower, and a feather would take much longer than 58 seconds to fall 1.5 miles. This scramjet thingy looks quite streamlined and so could have a terminal velocity greater than 120 MPH.

I've seen paper aeroplanes fly for longer than 58 seconds!

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a

What in hell is a "warboffinry" bureau?

Isn't it terrible when spell check just isn't enough?

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Stop

Wait for the data

Without knowing why it failed(telemetry and all that) there are really no conclusions to be drawn as yet. They really can't do this stage of the development of an engine like this on a test stand. This is they way the game is played. This is what R&D is like.

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Coat

@george

@george I would suggest you read a good book on Hypersonic Compression Ram Air jet engines and come back and rephrase your answer !

The main rocket booster appears to be of the same size and shape as that of a surplus Hercules Rocket Motor as was used in the now out of service AIM54C Phoenix missile which had a burn time of 90 seconds to reach a peak altitude of 90,000 ft and hit a Mach 5 terminal velocity !

Enough of this dumb and stupid lecture , I'll get my coat .

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Paris Hilton

Replacing hydrogen with hydrocarbons..

Fantastic work! Replace hydrogen with hydrocarbons... I think that's another nail in the myth of a hydrogen economy then ;-)

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@Hindenburg

If we had that attitude, we wouldn't have subsonic airliners either. Or ships.

Stop being such a jealous tart.

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@ Martin

Actually, Terminal velocity depends on several factors,including the speed of the connection to the mainframe and the typing skills of the operator...

On the serious side, streamlining an object does not increase its terminal velocity; not streamlining it may reduce it though.

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Newspeak

When I hear any official source use terms like "potential success" or "...believed to be the last attempt", the Newspeak translation may be "I think we're on to something!" or "..now <i>that's</i> funny....".

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