Australian scientists launched a hypersonic “scramjet” on Tuesday, claiming a world first with a revolutionary engine that could one day propel airliners at 5,000 miles per hour or more.

“HyShot” project members fired the supersonic combustion ramjet engine from a launch site in the Australian outback into the upper atmosphere and allowed it to plunge back to earth.

The engine was designed to ignite on the way down but project members said it would take several weeks to analyze the data from the experiment to establish whether it had worked as planned.
But indications were that the air-breathing engine had performed as planned.