The study on ATREX engine (Air-Turbo Ramjet engine) development is being been conducted in ISAS since 1986 as a candidate for the propulsion system of the fly-back booster up to Mach 6 on the reusable TSTO space plane. ATREX is a fan-boosted ramjet engine using liquid hydrogen as a fuel and coolant. Sea-level static firing tests of ATREX with precooling were carried out in parallel with the wind tunnel tests on the aerodynamic components such as air intake and plug nozzle. Further studies on precooler have been conducted not only for performance improvement but also for weight reduction to meet flight requirements. In 1998, a new type precooler (Type-III) was designed and tested. Its heat transfer performance could be improved by increasing its compactness using tubes of smaller in diameter as well as its weight could be reduced. On the other hand, some difficulties increased in its manufacturing due to larger number of tubes required. The new precooler performance on heat transfer and pressure loss compared with the old type of precoolers are presented here. The test results of ATREX engine installed with new precooler is presented. Some progress in aerodynamic studies on ATREX engine is also presented here. The control of the axisymmetric air inlet by capturing the terminal shock waves and the reduction on boat tail drag of the plug nozzle were conducted in the wind tunnel.
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