JAXA Launches Observation Rocket for Hypersonic Engine Test

Science Society

Tokyo, July 24 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, successfully launched an observation rocket from its Uchinoura Space Center in the town of Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, on Sunday.

The S-520-RD1 rocket was equipped with test devices for a scramjet engine, which is needed for developing hypersonic aircraft that travel at five times the speed of sound, or Mach 1, or faster. Necessary data was collected through a combustion test during hypersonic flight.

A jetscram engine draws oxygen needed for combustion from the air during hypersonic flight. Unlike a conventional rocket engine, a jetscram engine does not need liquid oxygen and is therefore expected to be a basic technology for spaceplanes, which would travel between Earth and space, as well as for hypersonic aircraft.

After reaching an altitude of about 150 kilometers following the launch at 5 a.m. Sunday (8 p.m. Saturday GMT), the S-520-RD1, which is 9.15 meters long, separated the test equipment on the top of the vehicle.

The equipment increased its speed as it descended, and a combustion test was conducted for about six seconds when the speed reached Mach 5.5 at an altitude of approximately 30 kilometers.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press