In the civil sphere, although several companies are currently working on creating supersonic aircraft to fly within the atmosphere, others intend to take passengers in hypersonic mode, either to the edge of space or beyond. One company in the latter group is called Space Engine Systems (SES), and its solution is based on something it describes as the “lightest, most reusable multi-fuel propulsion system.”
It is the DASS GNX, a precooled, air-breathing turbojet that goes into action as an afterburning turbojet at speeds between zero and Mach 3, and behaves like a ramjet from Mach 3 to Mach 5. It is supposed to be capable of developing 20,000 lbf thrust.
This technology will be included in a series of space planes that the Canadian company plans to manufacture, starting with the Sexbomb demonstrator.
This week a new device has been announced with the same goal, to test the technology, and SES has published a short video (attached) in which it tries to explain how its propulsion system will make hypersonic flight commonplace for people. It’s called Hello-1X and it should fly at Mach 5 at an altitude of 100,000 feet (30 km), still well below the Karman Line.
If the two succeed, the world would then get the real Hello-1 (suborbital cargo and crew carrier), and Hello-2 (suborbital low lunar orbit aircraft), which could each carry cargo into space at prices of just $300. dollars per kilogram
If successful, these space planes will open the doors to a future where you can take off from the old Earth and reach another destination here on the planet or, using the same means of transport, to the Moon.
Space Engine Systems Inc. (SES) is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. SES is currently building the HELLO-1 Experimental, a Mach 5 hypersonic vehicle employing Air Breathing Turbo-Ram jet engines. The vehicle is undergoing full-scale ground testing in preparation for this year’s flight tests. The HELLO-1 X is piloted, with a remote pilot option.
The biggest challenge to the success of hypersonic flight, for both commerce and defense, is heat. The first full-scale wing flex test of the entire vehicle is in preparation. It will exceed hypersonic mission design profile loads by 135% under full heat conditions and 150% under ambient conditions with a ramp rate of 30 to 60 seconds.
The cabin will be pressurized during the tests, which will increase severe loads. The HAF test facility is a mobile testing platform in critical areas. It will operate from room temperature to 1,400 degrees Celsius using heated air generated by modified single and multiple jet engines. It can move 80kg/second of heated air or multiples of it, as needed, while bending under full load. The vehicle can be quickly removed, cooled and heated, moving it back to the HAF facility. This will allow for cyclic load testing. Non-destructive testing is done at HAF’s facility after full load testing is complete.
The HELLO-1 X is 60 feet long and the airframe will be enclosed within the chamber by subjecting the entire airframe to heat, simulating flight conditions. This will validate the structural thermal effects of CFD modeling of the thermal structure of the fluid. The thermal gradient of the entire shell behaves differently. Along with flex, we closely simulate full-scale flight conditions reliably. The ability of the windshield to handle temperature without fail and to cool and check for skin cracks. We will observe the complete aerothermoelastic test of the skin during this testing process. We will also determine the service life of the avionics and hydraulic systems under typical flight conditions during this test.
The most important factor is that we can do all these tests quickly, getting reliable results before the complexities of flight testing.
The vehicle will be ready for flight tests this year; however, there may be delays in obtaining approvals to fly. We focus on flight from one of America’s supersonic corridors, FAA and other regulatory clearances permitting. However, options are also being studied in the UK and Canada to be able to fly as soon as possible. The demonstration of successful and sustained hypersonic flight will be a breakthrough for the aerospace industry.
HAF mobile testing may be offered to other companies for hypersonic and other structure bending in hot conditions, fitting various mission profiles.
Space Engine Systems Ltd (a UK company) has a facility at the Cornwall Spaceport, to enable quick entry into the hypersonic market in the UK. It will focus primarily on defense requirements and hypersonic flight.
Space Engine Systems USA, Inc. is exploring various opportunities for hypersonic, point-to-point, suborbital, and LEO flights from the United States. The first hypersonic test flight is expected to take place from the United States.
Due to the very high specific impulse (Isp) of the air-breathing engines, we are confident that we can go to suborbital orbit and Earth orbit at a fraction of the cost compared to rockets. The HELLO-1 and HELLO-2 spacecraft will go into production shortly. All SES vehicles are 100% reusable, taking off like any plane and landing like a conventional plane from any airport in the world. It is simple, affordable and will quickly become an extremely reliable mature technology for point-to-point and suborbital space exploration.