16 October 2003

The University of Queensland’s internationally celebrated HyShot™ program has been given its own rocket boost through an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant of almost $2 million announced this week.

As part of the ARC’s Discovery-Project funding announced by Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training Dr Brendan Nelson, the HyShot™ program, was awarded $1.805 million over five years.

It was one of the biggest grants awarded nationally and part of the almost $19 million received by the University.

The HyShot™ team was the first in the world to successfully flight test a supersonic air-breathing scramjet engine in August 2002.

Scramjets are air breathing supersonic combustion ramjet engines. They are set to revolutionise the launch of small space payloads, such as communications satellites, by substantially lowering costs.

They could make flights of only several hours between Australia and Britain possible.

Led by Professor Allan Paull from UQ’s Centre for Hypersonics, and joined by Professor Richard Morgan, Dr David Mee and Dr Tim McIntyre, the ARC funding will be used to develop the scramjet as a satellite launching system.

Professor Paull described receiving such a large grant as “fantastic news”.

“It’s pleasing to see our work being recognised,” he said.

“This will allow us to move into a new phase of HyShot™ where we are developing advanced technologies to use scramjets to launch satellites.”

He said the funding would also feed into the flight testing program, which would see the team aiming for three flights towards the end of the five-year funding.

The flights are aiming for speeds of Mach 10 to 12, or 12 times the speed of sound.

Media: For further information contact Professor Allan Paull (telephone 07 3365 3783) or Andrew Dunne at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 2802).