Japan's space agency tests future supersonic scramjet engine specimen
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, is researching the engine. The engine uses atmospheric oxygen to burn engine fuel with the airflow through it remaining supersonic or faster. As it does not need loaded oxygen 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. Sunday from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan.
The rocket reached an altitude of 168 kilometers three and half minutes after the 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 told reporters that they could collect all the data that they planned to get and that the 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.
The officials say that they hope the project can be used in the defense field in the future.
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