Ground and Flight Test Techniques

The University of Virginia Supersonic Combustion Facility (UVASCF) can achieve Mach 5 enthalpy testing of direct-connect and test dual-mode scramjet (DMSJ) flowpaths. The Reacting Flow Laboratory provides critical insights into the fundamental interactions between fluid dynamics and finite-rate chemistry for understanding combustion fundamentals.

UVA ground and flight test research is enabling new hypersonic technologies.  The University of Virginia Supersonic Combustion Facility (UVASCF) is a flagship propulsion ground test facility of the UVA Hypersonics Research Complex. This wind tunnel is capable of direct-connect simulation of Mach 5 flight of a scramjet engine. The facility is internationally unique in that it has an electrically-heated air plenum (up to 1250 K) and has a continuous flow (0.2 kg/s) capability. Because the flow is electrically heated, the test air is not contaminated with the products of combustion that are often present in combustion heated facilities. The nozzle and test section hardware are modular, enabling easy modification of the flowpath and optical access. The scale of the test time (usually hours) allows the simulation of the duty cycle of a scramjet in a real hypersonic system. This enables realistic controls experiments and evaluation, at thermal equilibrium, of advanced scramjet materials and active cooling approaches. The experimental databases developed using the facility have contributed to new and improved scramjet performance prediction tools that are in use across the hypersonics community.


Chris Goyne has developed expertise in the field of flight testing of hypersonic air-breathing propulsion technology. This includes trajectory and systems modelling of the carrier rocket, aerodynamic, thermal and structural design of the experimental payload, integration of flight- and ground-test campaigns, and coordination with launch providers and range assets. This expertise couples with recent programs in flight testing of spacecraft. UVA has experience designing, building, testing and operating small spacecraft and currently has a CubeSat in low Earth orbit.

chris goyne

"Our hypersonics test group is internationally recognized and, coupled with unique experimental capabilities, is uniquely positioned to contribute to national needs for hypersonic air-breathing propulsion technology development."

Chris Goyne, Associate Professor and Director of the UVA Aerospace Research Laboratory

Ground and Flight Test Research Faculty