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Space tourism nearing reality

Space tourism nearing reality

Space travel tourism is perhaps a step closer after McCullough Robertson helped assemble a $14 million international consortium to back the University of Queensland's (UQ) scramjet rocket…

Space travel tourism is perhaps a step closer after McCullough Robertson helped assemble a $14 million international consortium to back the University of Queensland's (UQ) scramjet rocket research.

Scramjets are air-breathing engines which can travel at hypersonic speed and the UQ-led consortium intends to test scramjet concepts at record speeds of more than 17,000 kilometres per hour.

Partner David Downie said settling the agreement across Asia, Europe and North America means a huge boost for Australia's space research program.

"The international consortium, which groups government departments, aerospace contractors and international and national universities, is contributing $9 million of funding following an initial $5 million grant from the Australian Space Research Program," he said.

"Putting together the consortium with partners from Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States required tough negotiations at odd hours of the day and night ... [and] Australia is now recognised internationally as a world leader in this important field of research and development, and we're very proud to have played a role in taking this vision to a broader universe."

UQ Deputy Vice-chancellor (Research) Professor Max Lu said the consortium would "inspire young people to study aerospace engineering and related disciplines and to look towards the Australian space sector for their careers".

"This bodes well for a healthy Australian domestic space industry in years to come," he said.

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