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This article appears in the November 19, 2004 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

How I Defined the Scramjet

by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

Novrember 11, 2004

The rebirth of the Sänger Scramjet project, as now represented by the X-43A pilot phase, was a choice made by me as part of my continuing work on the design of what President Ronald Reagan adopted as his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). As part of my work on developing a feasible package-design for an actual Phase I form of the proposed SDI, I became engaged in relevant technical discussions with the now-defunct German firm, MBB, which represented one of the world's most effective works on designs for interceptor strategies against incoming flights of thermonuclear-armed missiles.

Among the technical challenges involved, was the need to cheapen the physical cost of deploying intended, orbitting interceptor capabilities into position. This required eliminating the vastly excessive cost of carrying the bottled oxygen required for such efforts as a Shuttle launch. The Scramjet design, as first elaborated by German scientist Eugen Sänger, provided the proven technological principles for meeting that challenge.

Through our continued work with those and other relevant scientific-technical resources, we adopted a model for a scramjet operation which would use specially designed jet aircraft, which could take off and land from typical major airports or like installations. The factor of advantage gained over the present Shuttle system would be something approaching a factor of ten-fold. The ability to explore nearby space would be pushed ahead by a margin of no less than decades. The conclusions which I adopted for this purpose were featured in a special U.S. network television broadcast, entitled "The Woman on Mars," broadcast as part of my 1988 candidacy for the U.S. Democratic Party's Presidential nomination. (See this broadcast archived on the homepage of and

The pilot test of NASA's X-43 Hyper-X project is an outgrowth of the work done by NASA and others, as an outgrowth of the SDI project. It was also a reflection of my design for a forty-year development program for placing a permanent, manned scientific exploration station on Mars—a program which I outlined during the mid-1980s, and presented in my quasi-fictional "Woman on Mars" broadcast of 1988. The use of Scramjet technology for the initial phase of lift-off, from ground to low-Earth orbitting position (and, then, to geo-stationary position) was a featured part of that broadcast, including specific general design features of the scramjet aircraft itself.

[Play full video of LaRouche's 1988 "The Woman on Mars"]

[Play scramjet excerpt from "The Woman on Mars"]

Four Obstacles to Space

There have been four leading obstacles to progress in space exploration and related fields since the middle of the 1960s.

First, there were the beginnings of the shut-down of a leading scientific-technological edge of the program, which began during Fiscal Year 1966-67. Second, has been the cultural down-shift of European culture during the recent forty years, since the beginning of the "rock-drug-sex youth-counterculture" of the late 1960s and 1970s. Third, there has been the drive toward "globalization" which began with the 1971-72 shift, under U.S. President Nixon, as the emergence of the world's presently hopelessly bankrupt floating-exchange-rate monetary-financial system. Fourth, throughout, has been a frictional resistance to scientific and related progress even within centers of advanced scientific education.

This conflict was a central problem with which I had to deal even within the ranks of that elite body which formed the core of the once-powerful Fusion Energy Foundation (FEF); a problem also encountered at such relevant science centers as Lawrence Livermore Laboratories. That is to say, with the exception of such outstanding figures as the late Professor Robert J. Moon, the typical front-line scientists associated with my work on SDI and related projects, were typically accomplished original discoverers among professionals in experimental physics, who were often intimidated and confused by the mystical incantations of that modern Babylonian priesthood of review committees—a priesthood whose radically reductionist, mystical, "ivory tower" views and matching, inquisitional-like influence on the subject of abstract mathematics, have dominated the work of the peer-review committees. That priesthood represents the same type of incompetence which underlies and permeates that herd of wild-eyed quackademics responsible for the spread of that disease known as present-day ruling opinion in the field of economic doctrine in general, and government policy-shaping in particular.

It was that type of scientist, as associated with FEF, which had made possible the relative successes of that work of mine leading into the design conception of the SDI, and related other projects now spilled over in the space programs. The sheer idiocy shown by the current Bush Administration's effort to cut back on the X-43A program, a real scientific breakthrough in space and related fields, is typical of a government which is not content with shooting itself in the foot, but insists on also shooting itself in the head.

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