An artist’s sketch of an X-60A, the Air Force designation for the GOLauncher1 hypersonic flight research vehicle. Air Force image

UDRI wins $10M contract to help advance hypersonic flight

The Air Force has awarded the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) a nearly $10 million contract f0r work advancing the development of hypersonic test vehicles.

The contract amount is $9,845,965, for development of what the Department of Defense called a “hypersonic vehicle flight test structure.”

Hypersonic travel is faster than five times the speed of sound. Such speeds exert significant thermal and aerodynamic loads on materials, UDRI said in a release Friday afternoon. Designing vehicle structures that can survive these extreme environmental stresses is critical but challenging, said Brett Hauber, UDRI’s chief engineer for the program.

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“The design of hypersonic vehicles requires unique structural configurations and careful application of advanced materials,” Hauber said in a statement from the university. UDRI says it has a long history of developing advanced materials and structures for aerospace.

UDRI will work with the University of Tennessee and Purdue University, “whose capabilities in aerodynamic modeling and wind tunnel testing complement our expertise in materials and structures,” Hauber said.

This contract provides for the design, fabrication, and flight testing of the payload structure on the GOLauncher 1 (GO1) subscale hypersonic flight vehicle.

Work will be performed in Dayton and is expected to be complete by August 2022. The award originated with the Air Force Research Laboratory, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The GOLauncher 1 hypersonic vehicle is being developed by Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory, which is also based at Wright-Patterson.

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