stjobe writes with the news that a group of US and Australian scientists successfully tested a supersonic scramjet engine in the Australian Outback on Friday. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a rocket carrying the engine reached mach 10, and climbed to an altitude of 330 miles before the apparatus re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. "Australia's Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) said it was believed to be the first time a scramjet had been ignited within the Earth's atmosphere ... Scramjets are supersonic combustion engines that use oxygen from the atmosphere for fuel, making them lighter and faster than fuel carrying rockets. Scientists hope that one day a scramjet aircraft fired into space could cut traveling time from Sydney to London to as little as two hours."
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