June 18, 2007 Hypersonic flight moved a step closer to commercial reality on Friday when the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) successfully tested a rocket powered by one of the world’s fastest air-breathing engines. The scramjet-engined rocket reached speeds of Mach 10 - ten times the speed of sound - approximately 11,000 km/h – and would reduce the 5500 km flight from New York to London to a simple 30 minute affair or the 16,000 km long haul from New York to Sydney in under an hour and a half. Scramjets are air-breathing Supersonic Combustion RAMJETs and promise aircraft of hypersonic (Mach 5 plus) speeds. The flight reached an altitude of 530 kilometres, and reached speeds of Mach 10 during re-entry.
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