back to article Mach 8 Scramjet flies but sends no data

The University of Queensland's ScramSpace hypersonic flight experiment in Norway's Andøya Rocket Range has failed to fire in its one-chance-only test flight. In a terse statement, the university said the launch lifted off successfully, with the first two stages of the launcher landing safely in the water. “However it appears at …

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Parsing...

"the payload did not reach the correct conditions to begin collecting data..."

So...it went ballistic or went to pieces. I'd guess based on the lack of data, the pieces. Also, what's this "3 seconds" stuff? How do you get to mach 8 in 3 seconds, even with a running start? Were they planning to boost to mach 8 (via rocket thrust) and had an unscripted incident along the way, or on light-up? Questions...

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Coat

Re: Parsing...

"How do you get to mach 8 in 3 seconds, even with a running start?"

You have obviously never been in bed wit a lady-friend, heard the roar of a harley pull up in the driveway, and then a voice call out "I'm home woman! Wheres my beer!"

Ive been clocked at pants on, out the window and halfway down the street in 0.75 seconds

<- coat, cos i also grabbed that too when i was leaving

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Re: Parsing...

"expected to return three seconds' worth of data"

So, it looks like it was expected to survive at mach 8 for at least 3 seconds. I did not see anything about it reaching mach 8 in 3 seconds.

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Re: Parsing...

It was in freefall from higher than 300km up as a way of getting it to ignition speed, so it was going VERY fast before it even tried to switch on.

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Anonymous Coward

A painful expensive mistake.

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Coat

Re: Parsing...

coat, cos i also grabbed that too when i was leaving

Otherwise it would have been a case of coatius interruptus...

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Re: A painful expensive mistake.

That nail on the window sill?

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Was it's name Tiddles?

Considering that it was launched from a rocket at Mach 8 and failed to ignite, it was more flung than flew, wasn't it?

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Joke

Re: Was it's name Tiddles?

Was it's name Tiddles?

I was wondering more Kermit, given it seems to be frogs that get thrown out by rockets these days...

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Unhappy

Nicely demonstrating a couple of SCRamjets most amusing features.

Pretty good at getting an air breathing vehicle moving above M6 (if you somehow got it to M6 in the first place)

Virtually impossible to test on the ground. A key reason why Reaction Engines ruled them out.

Difficult or impossible to recover hardware.

That said the Queensland U budget is indeed peanuts to DARPA and their success rate has been at least as good. As previous El Reg report indicated the idea was to free fall from about 320Km and get to ignition speed under gravity alone.

Still it keeps them off the streets and out of trouble I guess.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nicely demonstrating a couple of SCRamjets most amusing features.

No, they make the life of people like you easier. If the world were made of your sort of people only, we would be called "monkeys" and we would be incredibly scared of the fire that burned below our trees+living quarters from then and now.

The "huwuwu has thrown the horribly zuzuz from heaven" we would say to each other. If we could speak at all, that is.

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How can you expect to make a scramjet

with the NSA fiddling with your simulations?

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Re: How can you expect to make a scramjet

That's true - maybe the NSA code in the scramjet wasn't phoning home asynchronously and it blocked the actual code from running in time.

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LOHAN take heart!

SPB's experiment has had its strugges with technical mishaps too: but their budget is a smigin lower, so take heart! The deep-pocked boffins are no better!

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Re: LOHAN take heart!

Hopefully a SCRAMjet is next in line after LOHAN, though?

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class - fly on the wall required

I can see the team on the ground -

Bruce: Release the rocket!

Bruce: ok bruce. rocket away!

Bruce: Right.... on my count Bruce - I want you to fire the scamjet bit you fitted... 5...4...3...

Bruce: er... I thought you fitted that bit.

Bruce: no. no. I told you to do it. I remember....

Bruce: ah.....

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Re: class - fly on the wall required

stereotyping but made me chuckle.

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Re: class - fly on the wall required

hahaha!

if in doubt, blame Bruce.

DAMNIT BRUCE, AGAIN?!

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Anonymous Coward

Display Of Shopkeeper Dumb-Ness

Whenever we read about historic inventions such as the Diesel engine, penicilin or some achievement of that sort, the text will tell us about "how short-sighted the investors were then".

But has anything changed ? Not at all. People bitch and moan about failed experiments on the way to something great (the USAF scramjet in this particular case). Dear shopkeepers, that's exactly how innovation and discovery works. It's unpredictable, it's littered with failure and it is a kind of activity not suited for shopkeepers and beancounters. So simply shit up.

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Re: Display Of Shopkeeper Dumb-Ness

"If we knew what we're doing, it wouldn't be called research, right?"

That attitude kept me going for a few years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Display Of Shopkeeper Dumb-Ness

Maybe you look at the A4/V2 missile test videos. Lots of failed shots. Von Braun knew what he did because he had dozens if not hundreds of failed experiments under his belt. Plus a proper education, of course.

Von Brauns A4 experiments built the basis for all spaceflight to the present day (except maybe for the solid-state missiles, which were built after the A4-style missiles demonstrated what is possible).

The Russkies could only get into space because they captured the other half of von Braun's team.

And yeah, it was horribly expensive and was only financed due to wartime emergency. Slave labour etc.

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Stop

Re: Display Of Shopkeeper Dumb-Ness

>>The Russkies could only get into space because they captured the other half of von Braun's team.

Nope - that's merely US propaganda, the old "Our Nazi scientists are better than your Nazi scientists" line, Operation Paperclip successfully got almost every V2 back to the states, and all the key personnel (with the notable war criminals that were given fake histories to illegally get them to the US).

>>Von Brauns A4 experiments built the basis for all spaceflight to the present day (except maybe for the solid-state missiles, which were built after the A4-style missiles demonstrated what is possible).

Absolutely untrue, the liquid fuelled cryogenics that Sergey Korolyov used were ground tested back in the 30's (they actually flew rockets in 1933), and the use of control engines instead of jet vanes were completely Russian design, his Russian team developed gyroscopic stabilisation, Von Braun however didn't launch a liquid fuelled cryogenic until the end of 1934, in fact he didn't even write his thesis "Construction, Theoretical, and Experimental Solution to the Problem of the Liquid Propellant Rocket" until April 1934 - a year after the Russians launched rockets.

The Russians managed to replicate the V2 based on captured information - but note, none of the German Scientists worked on any Russian rocket program past 1951 , and they were all repatriated (unlike the US). Sergey Korolyov was making engines back in the 30's and designing multistaged rockets way before anyone else had the idea, it's almost certain that he was helped by the German Program, but his R-7 was his, a complete redesign, based on earlier ideas (with extra information from the V2).

The real reason the Germans leapt ahead of the Russians (to be fair only lagging a few months behind) was because of the massive resources piled into the program (modern day equivalent of $50bn) but it was the last ditch attempt at winning the war, money meant nothing at this point.

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Unhappy

Re: Display Of Shopkeeper Dumb-Ness

"Whenever we read about historic inventions such as the Diesel engine, penicilin or some achievement of that sort, the text will tell us about "how short-sighted the investors were then""

Obviously quite a lot has changed.

The USAF continues to pump money into this research, where as private investors probably would not touch this with a barge pole.

Here's the thing. SCRamjets have promised sustainable hypersonic cruise (including reliable ignition) since the early 1960's.

Including the X30 programme (which swallowed about $1Bn before someone realized even the atmospheric constants in the simulations were wrong) there is probably close to $2Bn spent on this concept.over (now) over five decades.

No flight vehicle has flown in that time. In contrast the USAFRL flew an aircraft with a PDE 7 years ago. The amount of progress for the amount of cash has not frankly been very impressive.

Yes, it's a good idea to spend a bit of cash on doing things that are nearly impossible but given how much cash has been spent the results have been deeply unimpressive.

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Anonymous Coward

@"Russians Did Spaceflight on their own"

I do think careful analysis of your own words will contradict your own general line of arguments:

Wikipedia has some information on this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_space_program#The_Germans

Of course, "what one man can do, others can potentially do, too". But that doesn't invalidate that first-rate, rigorous German education plus the money, rigour and military efficiency/rationality of the German state developed liquid-fuelled rocket motors into a perfection that would make space-flight possible.

America and Russia COULD have done the same, but they were focussing on different stuff like nuclear weapons, electronic warfare, cryptology, making bombers and tank mass-manufacturing.

I stick with the argument that modern-day rocket motor technology is essentially the same as what von Braun developed for the Wehrmacht as a weapon. Of course, von Braun stood on the shoulders of many rocket pioneers from Russia and America, but he was the guy who was single-minded enough to make it REAL.

Similar arguments could be made for the jet engine and as far as I know, the Tu95 strategic bomber still runs on an engine designed by German engineers who were captured. It still is the most powerful turbo-prop in existence. Plus, it is probably the loudest engine in service. You hear the nukes coming.

And before you say "that's all Deutschland-über-alles arguments", I will easily admit that German cryptology was essentially shite, radar wasn't really good and the nuke efforts were also amateurish. Surely killing people cold-blooded is evil. I have to note on this account that the British and Americans were executing spies, though. Not really cool.

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Back up data

Looks like they need a stronger black box

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Where can they get some Neutronium?

Need some pretty tough stuff for an 6G+ deceleration!

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Meh

Re: Where can they get some Neutronium?

""Need some pretty tough stuff for an 6G+ deceleration!

Hardly.

A working hard drive dropped from 1m onto a concrete floor will receive a pulse of - 1000g (that's minus implying negative and little g as it's the equivalent force of gravity, not the gravitational constant).

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Re: Where can they get some Neutronium?

"A working hard drive dropped from 1m onto a concrete floor will receive a pulse of - 1000g (that's minus implying negative and little g as it's the equivalent force of gravity, not the gravitational constant)."

Drop it upside down. Then it will be +, can withstand that fine.

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