A common hypersonic glide body launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

In support of US hypersonic system development

Feb. 4, 2021

Professor Iain Boyd discusses the development of new hypersonic defense systems in a new column at Defense News: A recent article in The New York Times strongly implied that hypersonic weapons under development at the U.S. Department of Defense are being overhyped. In particular, several points made in a recent...

Artist's depiction of NASA's X-43A aircraft.

Hypersonics research paving way for Mars exploration, space tourism

Feb. 2, 2021

Iain Boyd has an unusual specialty: He studies the insanely fast. The aerospace engineer specializes in hypersonic flight—or when vehicles hit speeds of roughly 4,000 miles per hour or more, the kind of conditions that spacecraft face when they’re plunging through the atmospheres of Earth or even Mars. At those...

Illustration of a hypersonic vehicle flying into space

University of Colorado Boulder announces new hypersonics initiative

July 16, 2020

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...

Iain Boyd

To safely explore the solar system and beyond, spaceships need to go faster – nuclear-powered rockets may be the answer

May 20, 2020

Professor Iain Boyd discusses the potential for nuclear-powered rockets in a new column at The Conversation: With dreams of Mars on the minds of both NASA and Elon Musk, long-distance crewed missions through space are coming. But you might be surprised to learn that modern rockets don’t go all that...

Iain Boyd

Research will create important data in field of hypersonics

May 12, 2020

Professor Iain Boyd is hoping new materials research funding from the U.S. Navy will lead to better understanding and management of heat transfer in hypersonic vehicles through the use of ultra-high-temperature ceramics. Boyd, who is based in the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, said the research...

  Bullet-shaped interceptors defend the United States against attacking hypersonic weapons in an artist’s concept. Such defenses remain hypothetical. DARPA

‘National pride is at stake.’ Russia, China, United States race to build hypersonic weapons

Jan. 8, 2020

The US Department of Defense is leading a new charge, pouring more than $1 billion annually into hypersonic research. Competition from ambitious programs in China and Russia is a key motivator. Although hype and secrecy muddy the picture, all three nations appear to have made substantial progress in overcoming...

Iain Boyd

Growing hypersonics and national defense research on campus

Sept. 25, 2019

Iain Boyd is thinking fast. Extremely fast. So fast that breaking the sound barrier is practically standing still. Welcome to the world of hypersonics, where the minimum speed is it least 3,836 mph, or five times the speed of sound. Boyd's work focuses on the physics problems of hypersonic flight...

CU Boulder campus.

Welcoming four new faculty to Smead Aerospace

Aug. 26, 2019

The Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences is welcoming four new faculty members. Meet the team and see why we're so excited about these talented new hires: