The Hypersonic Flight In the Turbulent Stratosphere (HYFLITS) research team at CU was formed in 2016 and is currently funded by an AFOSR's Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative (MURI) grant titled "Integrated Measurement and Modeling Characterization of Stratospheric Turbulence." It includes many active members of this IRT.

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Hypersonic vehicles traveling in excess of five times the speed of sound may soon be a part of everyday life. Travel at such high speeds builds up incredible amounts of heat due to friction with the surrounding air which represents a key technical challenge to development and use. Solving these issues is of tremendous importance for national defense applications as well as space exploration where vehicles re-entering a planetary atmosphere are hypersonic.

In the current approach to designing hypersonic vehicles, each subsystem is treated separately, though in reality it is a coupled system. This theme brings together existing expertise at CU in areas such as aerothermodynamics, material sciences, structures, propulsion, guidance, navigation and control, and multi-physics optimization for a more holistic view of these vehicles. It builds off new and ongoing strengths within the college including recent faculty hires in hypersonics and a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) on atmospheric characterization. Altogether, four departments within the college and the Department of Applied Math in the College of Arts and Sciences are represented among faculty participants.

Since forming, the IRT has received strong interest from government and industry leaders in the field of hypersonics. Seed grant and teaming activities will be built around these and other partnerships to pursue new research avenues and address the national workforce shortage in this field through student training.


Our primary goal is to establish the college as the national leader in interdisciplinary optimization of hypersonic vehicles. To that end, we will:

  • Foster research collaborations in hypersonics across the college through small project teams and upgrade facilities and capabilities in the college to a state-of-the-art level for all subsystems
  • Build awareness internally and externally of capabilities in the college through guest lectures, outside media coverage and seminars
  • Establish and expand a Hypersonics Graduate Certificate program