Australia Develops World’s First Rotating Detonation Engine

With an aim to develop Australia’s Space Industry, Combustion experts from the University of Sydney are building the world’s first rotating detonation engine.

A team of researchers from the University of Sydney, Universität der Bundeswehr München, the University of South Australia, RMIT, Defence Science and Technology Group and Innosync Pty are to advance new computational methods to examine supersonic combustion, known as detonation. The project is led by DefendTex, and was awarded a $3million CRC-P grant in 2018 by the federal government.

The study will undertake the demonstration of the effectiveness of the rotating detonation engine. Investigating deeper into the analysis at different stages of study, the team is engineering a design that allows a stable detonation and continues thrust to the rocket. The engine is being ground tested.

The regular rockets launched into space carry loads of oxygen and fuel. This particular innovation may have an embedded system that allows to borrow oxygen from the atmosphere, saving on existing oxygen supply onboard. The project is cost effective and promises to revamp conventional rocket and launching systems. A reduction of the “mass of the launch vehicle and increase efficiency, reduce costs, and potentially allow for larger payloads, such as satellites” says Associate Professor Matthew Cleary, Associate Professor, part of the project, this could be the future of Space research, installations and technology.
This new addition will have a strategic impact on Australia’s Space Economy and equip the Country to access the small satellite launch market.