Drucella Andersen Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

August 25, 1993 (Phone: 202/358-4727) RELEASE: 93-152 NASA BOOSTS HYPERSONIC RESEARCH WITH UNIVERSITY GRANTS NASA is funding three new university research centers that will foster the next generation of researchers and engineers in hypersonic aeronautics -- flight at more than 5 times the speed of sound. Syracuse University, N.Y., the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Texas at Arlington were chosen from 30 applicants to develop science and engineering curricula that will train students to do leading-edge hypersonic research. Each school will receive $200,000 annually for 3 years. "These schools had the best mix of proposed curricula, research activities, management ability and willingness to share program costs," said Vincent L. Rausch, Director for NASA's National Aero-Space Plane (NASP) office, which manages the agency's hypersonic research. "We think this is an excellent way to connect academia with our national-level hypersonic efforts." Under the grants, the schools will create undergraduate and graduate curricula, analytical and experimental course work and text materials aimed at hypersonic aeronautics. The schools also will do basic and applied research for hypersonic vehicles, with an emphasis on airbreathing engines. NASA is funding the three centers to counter today's shortage of young hypersonic researchers, which has resulted from a lack of U.S. activity in the field from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.

Scientists and engineers with more than 25 years of experience now dominate the field. Many of them likely will retire in a few years. "We expect hypersonic aircraft development to increase both here and abroad before the end of the decade," said Rausch, "so the talent pool we hope to create with this program will be critical to U.S. competitiveness in aeronautics." -more-2Although hypersonic propulsion is a major focus, the three university research centers also will work in aerodynamics, materials and structures, stability and control, test methods and systems integration. NASA will encourage the schools to work closely with one or more NASA research centers for their mutual benefit and to foster the exchange of data with the aerospace community. NASA also will urge the universities to increase the participation by women, minorities and disabled people in the hypersonic research and training activities. The National Aero-Space Plane program is a joint effort by NASA and the Department of Defense to develop technologies for future vehicles that would provide efficient, less costly access to space. Vehicles derived from NASP technology would take off horizontally, fly into orbit using airbreathing engines as their primary propulsion, then return to land on a runway. -end-