Purdue University
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Hypersonic Research Builds at Purdue

Sept. 16, 2021
The Hypersonic Ground Test Center (HGTC) to be built in the Purdue Aerospace District will enable study of many different types of aerospace and hypersonic technologies for national defense.

Research on hypersonic technologies will be coming to Purdue University, or at least to a facility in the Purdue Aerospace District next to the school’s campus in West Lafayette, IN. The Hypersonic Ground Test Center (HGTC), which will host multiple test cells and laboratories, was announced during a recent two-day Hypersonic Summit hosted by Purdue University and the National Defense Industrial Association. Purdue University has a long history in research on aerospace and hypersonic technologies.

The 65,000 ft.2 HGTC will house the world’s only Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel as well as a hypersonic pulse (HYPULSE) shock tunnel. The test facilities will be used to develop high-altitude and hybrid-electric engines for U.S. military aircraft (see the figure). Purdue President Mitch Daniels said: “At Purdue, we’re committed to research at the very frontiers of science, especially when it can contribute to the national security of Americans.” Daniels added: "Becoming home to the nation’s premiere hypersonic facility can make such a contribution, while providing enormous new opportunities for our researchers, aspiring entrepreneurs, and job seeking graduates.”

Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation will fund the construction of the HGTC. The HGTC will be administered by a nonprofit consortium of national defense industry partners that manages capital and operating costs and expenses. Rolls-Royce North America is the first aerospace industry member of the consortium with other members being recruited. Tom Bell, chairman and CEO, Rolls-Royce North America, said, “Rolls-Royce is proud to be the founding member of this significant new addition to aerospace research. We credit leadership from the state of Indiana, Purdue University, and Purdue Research Foundation for their important vision and investment leading to the creation of the Hypersonic Ground Test Center. We are keenly interested in the area of hypersonic propulsion and currently exploring development of advanced supersonic and high-Mach propulsion systems with our customers.”

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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