Notre Dame launches Hypersonic Systems Initiative

Inside the Afac Tunnel

Notre Dame has launched the Hypersonic Systems Initiative to advance the University’s expertise in developing efficient, hypersonic flight vehicles.

The Notre Dame Hypersonic Systems Initiative includes more than 35 researchers from the College of Engineering and College of Science. The Initiative aims to be a catalyst for new cross-cutting hypersonics research that pools resources while also fostering a “system-of-systems” approach that recognizes the interdependence of design elements and provides coordination at their interfaces.

“Hypersonic flight in the atmosphere poses a number of critical technological challenges that requires a multidisciplinary approach,” said Thomas Corke, Clark Equipment Professor in Engineering and director of the Hypersonic Systems Initiative.

“The Notre Dame Hypersonic Systems Initiative will act as a hub to better integrate all the different areas of expertise to address the needed technology development.”

The Initiative engages Notre Dame researchers within 10 different areas of expertise: aerodynamics, thermal protection, materials, structure, manufacturing, signatures and long-range diagnostics, propulsion, energy storage, communication, as well as flight control, guidance, and navigation. The faculty, staff, and students working within these areas will collaborate across disciplines and with other universities, government, and industry stakeholders.

In 2018, Notre Dame unveiled the largest quiet Mach 6 hypersonic wind tunnel in the country, supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific. Notre Dame is currently partnered with Purdue University to develop a Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel and a quiet Mach 10 tunnel located at Notre Dame. The Mach 10 tunnel is expected to be completed in the early part of 2023.

— Brandi Wampler, Notre Dame Research