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Enabling hypersonic travel

An artist's sketch of an X-60A launch. Image credit: US Air Force

UDRI will develop a subscale hypersonic flight-test vehicle

By Pamela Gregg, Communication Administrator

The University of Dayton Research Institute has been awarded a $9.9 million, three-year contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory for research and development to design and fabricate a subscale hypersonic flight test vehicle.

In a similar and ongoing program, UDRI has been working with the University of Tennessee and Purdue University to explore the design process for reusable hypersonic vehicle structures. The same team will leverage these efforts to design, analyze, test and fabricate a flight test vehicle with integrated structural and aerodynamic experiments.

Hypersonic vehicles, which travel at speeds faster than five times the speed of sound, experience significant thermal and aerodynamic loads. Designing vehicle structures that can survive these extreme environmental stresses is critical but extremely challenging, said Brett Hauber, UDRI’s chief engineer for this program.

“The design of hypersonic vehicles requires unique structural configurations and careful application of advanced materials,” Hauber added, noting that UDRI has a long history of developing and transitioning advanced materials and structures for aerospace.

“The Research Institute will again partner with the University of Tennessee and Purdue University, whose capabilities in aerodynamic modeling and wind tunnel testing complement our expertise in materials and structures,” Hauber said.

June 3, 2019

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