New Engine for Potential Space Travel

This is so cool. Potentially up to Mach 17? This definitely has major possibilities for space travel.

Space vehicles already can exceed that speed - it’s much easier once you’re in space without the earth’s atmosphere to contend with.

Interesting. I didn’t know that. Then why are they (the scientists, that is) excited about this discovery, I wonder? Maybe even higher speeds? We will find out if it has any impact.

An an Expanse fan, it reminded me of the Epstein Drive - I guess I should learn more about actual science, rather than the science fiction I enjoy .:grinning:

Think weapons and planes, not spaceships.

Is this a new version of the spacecraft that was going to be powered by nuclear explosions ?
Real project by the way.

AFAIK the main engineering issue with supersonic aircraft is not the engine, but preventing the aircraft itself from melting and distorting. At Mach 17 you’d have a bit of a problem anywhere except at very high altitude … which then presents the problem, how do you get up there in the first place?

Interesting stuff, but probably very limited application.

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Materials for hypersonic propulsion are a challenge - plenty of materials that can withstand the heat, but they’re heavy. But you can’t minimize the challenges of the propulsion system - it’s difficult for an aircraft propulsion system to work from Mach 0 to Mach 5, never mind 17, which is why all the hypersonic systems that have been demonstrated to date are either boosted, air launched, or rockets.