The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, has successfully test-launched a small research rocket that conducted tests for a future, supersonic, scramjet engine.
JAXA is researching this engine that uses atmospheric oxygen to burn engine fuel, with the airflow through the craft at supersonic or faster speeds. As no loaded oxygen is needed on board, the scramjet will allow a heavier payload to be carried.
JAXA launched an S-520-RD rocket into space at 5:00 a.m. on July 24th from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan.
The rocket reached an altitude of 168 kilometers three and half minutes post-launch. The nose of the rocket contains test equipment for the scramjet engine, which was detached from the craft.
JAXA’s team leader, Tani Koichiro, stated this launch was a big step in the development of the engine. The test launch is a part of a project adapted by Japanese Defense Ministry‘s acquisitions agency.
Officials say that they hope the project can be used for defense in the future.