19 September 2013

The SCRAMSPACE research team is awaiting the outcomes of an investigation by the Andøya Rocket Range on the unsuccessful launch of the research experiment.

SCRAMSPACE Director and University of Queensland Hypersonics Chair Professor Russell Boyce said the most important factor was that people were safe, and both first and second stages of the rocket and the payload had landed in the sea.

“The range has assured us that everyone is safe, no one has been hurt and no one is in danger, which is the most important thing,” Professor Boyce said.

“But the launch did not go as expected.

“The rocket carrying the scramjet launched at 3pm (Norwegian time, 11pm Brisbane time), however the payload failed to achieve the correct altitude to begin the scientific experiment as planned.

“The SCRAMSPACE payload, according to our data, was operating perfectly and performed extremely well before and during the launch, and we received telemetry data all the way into the water.

“Unfortunately the failed launch meant we could not carry out the experiment as planned.”

“The team is very disappointed. The project represents a lot of time, effort and money by a committed consortium of partners and sponsors.”

Professor Boyce said the launch was just the final part of a three-year project that had achieved much of what it set out to achieve.

“We set out to create a highly skilled talent pool of scientists, engineers and researchers, and to establish international credibility. We have done both of these in spades,” he said.

“The team can be immensely proud of what they achieved to this point.”

However, he said the team was keen to hear the outcomes of the range’s investigation into the cause.

“As with all launches, there is a risk that something will go wrong. Unfortunately for the SCRAMSPACE team, something went wrong, and we are looking forward to hearing from the range on what happened,” Professor Boyce said.

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and UQ are working with the Andøya Rocket Range and DLR to gather as much information as possible to determine the source of the problem.

Media: In Norway (between 6pm and 8am Australian Eastern Standard Time) Janelle Kirkland, UQ Communications, +47 4763 4282 or j.kirkland@uq.edu.au. In Australia, Carolyn Varley (between 8am and 6pm Australian Eastern Standard Time), +61 7 3365 1120, 0413 601 248 or c.varley@uq.edu.au

About the SCRAMSPACE project

SCRAMSPACE is the first and largest project funded by the Australian Space Research Program. It builds on Australia's world-class hypersonics heritage, and its core objective is to build capacity and capability, in particular a talent pool, for the Australian space and aerospace industry.

This is achieved partly by means of the Mach 8 flight experiment, for which a team of exceptional young scientists and engineers has been assembled, and partly through extensive ground-based research involving many PhD students at UQ and partner universities.

The design, development and testing of the flight experiment payload has been led and performed by UQ with major support from Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), who are coordinating the launch campaign.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Italian Aerospace Research Center (CIRA) have provided additional onboard experiments, while the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and industry partners BAE Systems and Teakle Composites have played key roles with provision of flight hardware, pre-flight testing and launching the rocket (DLR).

Other partners in the program, involved in the ground-based aspects, are the University of Adelaide, University of Southern Queensland, University of Minnesota, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), AIMTEK, and the Australian Youth Aerospace Association.