By  Christopher Tyree

The University of Virginia School of Engineering has a history inhypersonic education and researchthat spans 35 years, built the careers of many faculty and graduates and racked up many achievements. In 2009, for instance, UVA Engineering received approximately $10 million from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and NASA to run theƂ National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion, a five-year, national flagship hypersonic research center that included eight universities, corporate members and collaboration with two NASA research centers and the Air Force Research Lab. The UVA-led center successfully graduated 26 Ph.D. students from its partner universities during that time. Though U.S. funding for hypersonic research hasn't exactly resembled the trajectory of a rocket going into space since then, funding opportunities over the last two years have started to trend back up with news that China and Russia may have leapfrogged the United States in terms of hypersonic advancements. As part of a renewed focus on hypersonic research and development, UVA Engineering has established the UVA Hypersonic Research Complex, which includes 17 faculty members whose research interests span all facets of hypersonic flight. Faculty are from the departments of Systems and Environment Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The complex supports the school's core strengths in air-breathing propulsion and materials for hypersonic applications, and serves as a catalyst to expand the systems engineering and turbomachinery research for hypersonic applications. UVA, in partnership with the University of Tennessee Space Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, Florida A&M, Florida State University, Purdue University and Missouri University of Science & Technology, was recently awarded a grant from the Navy to help develop the future Department of Defense hypersonic workforce. The team will develop multi-disciplinary educational curricula and supporting programs. UVA is taking the lead on enhancing the pipeline of undergraduate students who will enter careers in industry, government and academia within the field of hypersonic study. With a future that looks bright, we look to the past and feature three UVA Engineering alumni who are continuing to make major contributions to the study and development of hypersonic aircraft.