Hypersonic vehicles travel faster than five times the speed of sound (about 3,500 mph) and are used to deliver tactical and strategic payloads. The very high speed generates physical phenomena that are unique to hypersonic vehicles such as chemistry, plasma, and ablation. NSI hypersonic research capabilities involve a suite of computational tools for analysis of:
Hypersonic flow and chemistry including plasma and radiation
Hypersonic material response including detailed surface chemistry processes such as ablation
Hypersonic vehicle trajectory optimization
Hypersonic propulsion systems
Hypersonic thermal management approaches such as transpiration cooling
Radio frequency (RF) engineering involves the application of transmission line, waveguide, antenna and electromagnetic field principles to the design and application of devices that produce or utilize signals within the radio band, the frequency range of about 20 kHz up to 300 GHz. It is incorporated into almost everything that transmits or receives radio waves, including mobile phones, radios, Wi-Fi and two-way radios. RF engineering is an important component for those working in aeronautics, telecommunications, military services, commercial radio, television and space-related professions. People use radio waves to communicate on their cell phones, and RF engineers design and implementing the technology that supports 4G and 5G networks.
Cybersecurity is the protection of critical or sensitive information in electronic systems and communications technology from unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized manipulation, and loss of use. In our information-driven world, information protection is crucial for national security and global stability. While cybersecurity is a multidisciplinary endeavor that includes hardware, software, network, and systems engineering, a holistic approach must also include fundamental expertise in physics, materials science, mathematics, statistics, and human behavior.
Missions: Cybersecurity cuts across many national security missions. We work closely with partners across industry, universities, national laboratories, DOD, and DOE to develop more secure and resilient information systems that impact not only military preparedness and operations, but also global commerce and daily civilian life.
Challenges: Information systems are distributed, interconnected, complex systems that span many domains and disciplines. The challenge for a cyberdefender is to analyze a system across all domains and disciplines, identify critical or sensitive areas with respect to weaknesses, and create a web of protection against exploits.
CU Strengths: NSI cybersecurity research includes computational and experimental efforts to understand and develop physics-based roots of security at the hardware level, as well as protect against physics-based mechanisms of information leakage. We develop novel materials and devices used in computing, storage, and communications technologies.
Space Domain Awareness (SDA) is the ability to monitor, understand, and predict natural and man-made objects in orbit around the Earth. It is traditionally synonymous with detecting, tracking, and identifying artificial objects in Earth orbit. Space has become more congested and contested. As opposing nations develop weapons and capabilities to target U.S. satellites, our nation has expanded its position regarding outer space and now considers space a domain of warfare, like air, sea or land.
Missions: Space ops, anomalies
Challenges: Info fusion, perception, human factors, space environment, activity interference, asset optimal tasking
CU Strengths: Astrodynamics, sensor tasking, autonomy, dim target detection, target tracking and state estimation, GNC, space weather