University of Notre Dame Adds Two New Hypersonics Research Facilities

University of Notre Dame Adds Two New Hypersonics Research Facilities

The University of Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory (NDTL) completed construction of two new test cells dedicated to research, development and testing of hypersonic propulsion systems.

Along with partners Hermeus, an Atlanta-based startup developing hypersonic aircraft, and FGC Plasma Solutions, a Boston-based startup focusing on combustion technology, NDTL has developed separate facilities for ram engine and high-Mach combustion testing. Both are operational and will serve as a critical resource for development of high-speed flight engines and hypersonic aviation.

Sen. Todd Young joined University leaders and researchers as well as representatives from both companies and the Department of Defense today (June 6) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the two facilities.

“The University of Notre Dame is very pleased to be able to offer some of the best test capability available for the important technology of hypersonics propulsion,” said Robert J. Bernhard, vice president for research and professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering. “Our faculty, students and staff are proud to be able to contribute to solving the immense technical challenges of powered hypersonic flight.”

Notre Dame, in collaboration with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), currently operates the AFOSR-Notre Dame Large Mach 6 Quiet Tunnel and has designed a Mach 10 Quiet Wind Tunnel that is scheduled to be completed later this year and fully commissioned in 2023.

National interest in hypersonic flight has intensified in recent years. Getting passenger planes to travel at Mach 6 speed — six times the speed of sound — would revolutionize air travel. Passengers would be able to fly from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles in under an hour, New York to London in less than two hours and Los Angeles to Tokyo in under four hours. The technology would also enhance the country’s strategic national defense systems, including hypersonic weapons capable of defeating conventional and future offensive threats, and allow military and emergency aircraft to quickly reach hotspots anywhere in the world.

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