March 9, 2009

National hypersonic science centers named

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and U.S. Air Force have created national hypersonic centers in California, Texas and Virginia.

Officials said the three centers will advance research in air-breathing propulsion, materials and structures, and boundary layer control for aircraft that can travel at Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, and faster.

NASA and the Air Force's Office of Scientific Research selected the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Texas A&M University in College Station and Teledyne Scientific & Imaging LLC of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory have made a major commitment to advancing foundational hypersonic research and training the next generation of hypersonic researchers, said James Pittman, principal investigator for NASA's Hypersonics Project. Our joint investment of $30 million over five years will support basic science and applied research that improves our understanding of hypersonic flight.

The University of Virginia is designated the National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion, while Teledyne is designated the National Hypersonic Science Center for Hypersonic Materials and Structures.

Texas A&M University is designated the National Center for Hypersonic Laminar-Turbulent Transition.

Each center will receive $2 million per year and as much as $10 million if all renewal options are exercised, officials said.