Hypersonic Propulsion Concepts: Design, Control, Operation, and Testing – Online Short Course (Starts 22 Oct 2024) 22 October - 14 November 2024 Online

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Hypersonic Propulsion Concepts Course

  • From 22 October – 14 November 2024 (4 Weeks, 8 Classes, 16 Total Hours)
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1–3 p.m. ET (all sessions will be recorded and available for replay; course notes will be available for download)
  • AIAA’s essential course on Hypersonic Propulsion is taught by the institute’s world-leading experts from Industry, Government, and Academia.
  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course.

This 16-hour online course, instructed by experts from AIAA’s High Speed Air-Breathing Propulsion Technical Committee, will introduce students to the most important aspects of the technical discipline. Starting with an introduction and theoretical background, the course will quickly move into various practical applications and concepts.


  • Awareness of hypersonic flight vehicle development past and present
  • Knowledge of performance requirements for air-breathing hypersonic flight
  • Familiarization with aerothermodynamic cycle analysis and available analysis codes
  • Introduction to supersonic mixing problems
  • Design and performance analysis of aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, and materials
  • Understanding the aerothermodynamic flight environment
  • Introduction to design issues and methodology
  • Understanding the role of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) including RANS, DES, LES, and DNS for hypersonic propulsion design issues
  • Familiarization of ground testing and flight-testing techniques and considerations
  • Detailed outline below

The course is designed for project engineers, researchers, students, scientists, and managers engaged in research, design, development, and testing of hypersonic air-breathing propulsion vehicles.

COURSE FEES (Sign-In To Register)
- AIAA Member Price: $995 USD
- Non-Member Price: $1195 USD
- AIAA Student Member Price: $495 USD

CLASSROOM HOURS / CEUs: 16 classroom hours / 1.6 CEU/PDH

Cancellation Policy: 
A refund less a $50.00 cancellation fee will be assessed for all cancellations made in writing prior to 5 days before the start of the event. After that time, no refunds will be provided.

Contact: Please contact Lisa Le or Customer Service if you have any questions about the course or group discounts (for 5+ participants).

  • Theoretical Background for High-Speed Air-breathing Propulsion
    Challenges associated with high-speed air-breathing propulsion, review of Brayton cycle (energy balance, thermal efficiency, limitations), fundamental combustion analysis (complete, equilibrium, non-equilibrium and turbulent), compression and expansion analyses including pressure and temperature ratio, adiabatic efficiency, characteristic lines as well as combined compression/combustion (detonation).

  • Air-breathing Hypersonic Propulsion System Components
    Aerothermodynamic analysis of ramjets and scramjets, stream thrust analysis; design and introductory performance analysis of inlets, inlet isolators, burners and nozzles.

  • Air-breathing Hypersonic Propulsion Systems Cycle Analysis
    Basic cycle analysis of a hypersonic vehicle; combined cycle propulsion systems, development of an integrated hypersonic engine code using the NPSS Platform, a case study on the ATREX cycle.

  • Combustors and Fuels
    Scramjet fuel injectors and injection system requirements. supersonic mixing fundamentals, turbulent shear-layers, compressibility effects and growth rate scaling, transverse jet in supersonic crossflow, ramp injectors, aeroramp injector, cavity-based fuel injectors, hypermixer-type injector, staged injection, mixing efficiency, the scalability challenge, mixing enhancement strategies, vortex-based fuel injection system, scramjet flowpath design. Solid fuel-based propulsion concepts such as solid-fuel ramjet (SFRJ)

  • Fundamental Aerodynamics and Hypersonic Boundary Layer
    Characterization of hypersonic flow, description of impact theory and comparison to CFD; discussion of low-density effects, viscous interaction, strong shock flows and high-temperature effects; Description of real-gas effects, aerodynamic heating prediction techniques, description of boundary-layer stability theory, laminar-to-turbulent transition mechanisms and state-of-the-art methods for estimating onset of transition including linear stability theory, linear and nonlinear parabolized stability equations, biglobal and triglobal stability methods as well as direct numerical simulation methods.

  • Propulsion/Airframe Integration
    Opportunities and challenges of hypersonic flight, Propulsion requirements and options, Forebody, inlet and nozzle design and performance considerations, Hypersonic vehicle design and propulsion integration considerations, Vehicle performance and sizing, and System design exploration and multidisciplinary design optimization.

  • Airframe Structures and Thermal Management
    An overview of structural material considerations necessary when beginning a new design of a high-speed engine and flowpath. The session covers high speed engine environment, handling the thermal environment, material considerations, super alloys, refractory metals, and ceramic matrix composites.

  • The Role of CFD Simulation, Ground & Flight Testing
    Understanding the hypersonic environment, what can CFD do, wind tunnels - Mach ranges, enthalpy, test section size; flight testing - rocket boosted, air launched, horizontal takeoff; instrumentation for ground and flight testing, future test requirements.
  • The course lectures will be delivered via Zoom. Access to the Zoom classroom will be provided to registrants near to the course start date.
  • All sessions will be available on-demand within 1-2 days of the lecture. Once available, you can stream the replay video anytime, 24/7.
  • All slides will be available for download after each lecture. No part of these materials may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, unless for course participants. All rights reserved.
  • Between lectures during the course, the instructor(s) will be available via email for technical questions and comments.

Instructors (from the AIAA High Speed Air-Breathing Propulsion Technical Committee and Academia, in no particular order):

Dr. Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing Research & Technology. Dr. Kevin G. Bowcutt is a Principal Senior Technical Fellow & Chief Scientist of Hypersonics for Boeing with 38 years of experience. He is an AIAA Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He holds BS, MS and PhD degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland. Dr. Bowcutt is an internationally recognized expert in hypersonic aerodynamics, propulsion integration, and vehicle design and optimization. Notable accomplishments include developing the viscous-optimized hypersonic waverider; flight testing scramjets by shooting them from a light gas gun; originating and optimizing the design of the X-51A scramjet-powered demo vehicle; helping the Space Shuttle Columbia accident investigation by simulating wing aero-thermal-structural failure; and leading Boeing’s contributions to the HIFiRE international hypersonic flight experiment program. In the spring semester of 2007 Dr. Bowcutt was a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department where he taught a course in hypersonic airplane design. Dr. Bowcutt leads Boeing’s advanced design efforts for hypersonic missiles, airplanes and space-planes, and is the technical lead for Boeing’s hypersonic passenger airplane program. 

Dr. Joel Malo de Molina, Senior Principal Systems Engineer, Energetics & Propulsion; Raytheon Missile Systems, Energetics and Propulsion Department. Technical aero-propulsion IPT lead on high-speed air-breathing systems, SRM and long-range high-speed development programs. Aerodynamics and propulsion integration, performance planning, design, manufacturing, development and analysis, modeling, simulations, testing and program execution of hypersonic propulsion and advanced air-vehicle tactical weapons. High speed air-breathing propulsion expert, hypersonic vehicle integration, inward- turning inlet design, and system performance. Liquid engines and solid rocket motors, SFGG physics, DMRJ, scramjet integration, fuel system design and RDE SME; responsible for cost and EV management, vendor selection and technical supervision, schedule, and technical performance to develop high speed weapons. Planning and execution of strategic IRAD and program funds; design, develop and analyze air-vehicle tactical weapons. High speed air-breathing propulsion system test, analysis and execution (wind tunnel model development, installation and analysis, test and facility readiness review/support, engine direct connects, and Free-Jets). 

Dr. Jason Etele has been teaching and researching aerospace propulsion at Carleton University (Canada) for over a decade and a half and is the author of the book “Fundamentals of Transatmospheric and Space Propulsion”. He has been an invited lecturer for several AIAA Short Courses on High Speed Airbreathing Propulsion, an invited instructor on Space Systems and Propulsion at Tohoku University (Japan), and a visiting professor at Clarkson University. He has also been an invited researcher at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) where he investigated airbreathing rocket concepts. 

Mr. Tom Smith, Associate Technical Fellow at Boeing, is a conceptual aircraft designer specializing in hypersonic air-breathing aircraft and spaceplanes. He designed the X-40, X-37A and X-37B spaceplanes. He has innovated concepts in the area of inward turning inlets for scramjet propulsion. He has broad skills in aerodynamics, structural design, propulsion integration, and multi-disciplinary optimization.

Dr. Ragini Acharya, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee Space Institute. 23 years of research and professional combined experience, including 15 years of post-PhD research experience in high-speed propulsion encompassing fundamental research as well as applications. Technical Expertise - Model development: Hypersonics, Uncertainty quantification, Hi-speed flows, Multi-physics, multi-phase, reacting and non-reacting flows, Surface Regression, Combustion-flame interaction; Hi-Fidelity reacting CFD: Large eddy simulation, unsteady RANS, Direct Numerical Simulation; Numerical Methods: High resolution shock-capturing methods, Wall Resolved Large Eddy Simulation (LES), Spectral Element; Applications: Hypersonic Flows, High-speed Aerothermochemistry, Reacting Boundary Layer Flows, Boundary Layer Transition, Alternative Fuels and Emissions 

Dr. Robert Baurle is the technical lead for CFD development activities within the Hypersonic Air-breathing Propulsion Branch at the NASA Langley Research Center and is the primary developer of the VULCAN-CFD package. As a senior member of the branch, Baurle also provides subject matter expertise to DoD sponsored scramjet development programs. Prior to his position at NASA, Baurle was employed at Taitech, Inc., located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where he was the Principal or Co-Investigator on numerous high-speed propulsion projects ranging from liquid fueled ducted rockets to scramjet engines. Baurle currently chairs the JANNAF Simulation Credibility Panel, JANNAF Component Modeling and Simulation Panel, and has received five “Best Paper” awards at AIAA and JANNAF conferences along with two awards related to software development at NASA. 

Dr. Khaled Sallam, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Oklahoma State University, Tulsa. Co-Author of the recently published book, "An Introduction to Combustion with Applications Using Cantera" 

Dr. Zekai Hong is a Senior Research Officer with National Research Council Canada’s the Aerospace Research Centre, focusing on combustion, fuels, and propulsion systems.  He has been teaching courses in laser diagnostics and gas turbines for more than 5 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Friedolin Strauss, Engineer and Researcher at German Aerospace Center DLR.


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