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$1M boost to high-speed flight test research

University of Southern Queensland hypersonics research awarded a $1M ARC grant
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Hypersonic innovation requires research that moves at high speeds, and the University of Southern Queensland just got a massive boost to keep up their face-paced work.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) this week approved more than $29 million for 61 grants for Linkage Projects over the next five years, including over $1 million for a project led by the University into remote diagnostics for space-access flight testing.

Linkage Projects promote national and international research partnerships between researchers and businesses, industry, community organisations and other publicly funded research agencies.

Professor David Buttsworth from the University of Southern Queensland’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences will lead the newly-funded project to develop ways to maximise science outcomes from test flights.

“Aerospace flight testing is essential for assessing the reliability of space-access technologies including re-useable rockets and hypersonic air-breathing systems,” he said

“These tests give us vital optical data in video and scientific formats, and we’re looking at ways to gain even more insight from these flights.”

The team will design a suite of new instruments suiting various platforms (airborne, ground-based and high-altitude drones) for observing high-speed flight tests conducted during research into launch-to-space and return-from-space technologies.

The project will also fine-tune computational simulations of the flight tests and develop new ways to deduce the aerodynamic and thermal conditions experienced during high-speed flight.

Professor Buttsworth said by advancing essential optical diagnostic tools and techniques, his team aimed to establish an enduring capability for space-access flight testing in Australia.

“This work has the potential to accelerate the research and development pathways for Australian enterprises and will designate our country as a prime destination for international aerospace businesses.”

University of Southern Queensland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor John Bell welcomed the news, commending the researchers involved.

“This is yet another example of excellence from the talented team in Hypersonics and Rocketry based at the University’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences,” Professor Bell said.

“The ARC grant is a wonderful result for the University, and I congratulate all the researchers involved.”

The research team includes Professor Buttsworth, Dr Fabian Zander and Dr Craig Lobsey, as well as partners from The University of Queensland, University of Stuttgart, Rocket Technologies International, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Southern Launch and Hypersonix Launch Systems.

man smiling with his arms crossed
Professor David Buttsworth from the University of Southern Queensland’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences will lead the newly-funded project to develop ways to maximise science outcomes from test flights.