No single scientist or engineer, no matter how smart, could solve the challenges of controlled, maneuverable flight of an aircraft or returning spacecraft traveling at more than five times the speed of sound. Temperatures on the vehicles can soar past 2,000 degrees Celsius, and conventional control designs won’t work.
“It really takes an interdisciplinary approach to think about analyzing and designing a hypersonic vehicle,” said Iain Boyd, an aerospace engineering professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
And so, CU Boulder awarded a two-year grant to Boyd and 20 other faculty members to model better designs for such vehicles. The research will be carried out under a hypersonics interdisciplinary research theme, or IRT, one of three such themes announced today, the others being “AI-augmented learning” and “resilient infrastructure.” The new IRTs join several announced in 2018.