AKA: Terrier Orion Mk 70. Status: Active. First Launch: 2001-10-30. Last Launch: 2013-07-04. Number: 13 . Gross mass: 1,300 kg (2,800 lb). Height: 12.80 m (41.90 ft). Diameter: 0.46 m (1.50 ft). Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).
2 stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Terrier Mk 70 + 1 x Improved Orion.
First launch attempt in the HyShot Flight Program. The scramjet payload was to be used to verify pressure measurements made of supersonic combustion in The University of Queensland's T4 shock tunnel by those made in an actual flight. A failure of stabilising fins meant that the rocket fell far short of the planned 330-km apogee and the scramjet experiment was not conducted.
In the second launch of the HyShot program, the Terrier-Orion Mk70 rocket boosted the payload, which remain attached to the second stage Orion motor, toward a planned apogee of 330 km. After peaking at 314 km, the trajectory was designed so that the payload was moving at Mach 7.6 between 35 km and 23 km on the way down, at which point the measurements of supersonic combustion were made. This was claimed to be the first successful test of a scramjet in flight.
The 100-kg test British-design scramjet engine was boosted to an altitude of 314 km during a 10-minute flight. It and the attached second stage then were re-oriented to point back to the Earth. The scramjet was successfully ignited at a speed of Mach 8 in the tiny six-second window of opportunity shortly before impact.
A repeat of the test four days earlier, this time with a Japanese-designed scramjet. The nosecone of the rocket failed to jettison and therefore scramjet ignition was not achieved. The scramjet and second stage remains were located in the desert and recovered after only 20 minutes of searching.