"The demand for this kind of knowledge has jumped exponentially in the last couple of years as it has become more important to the defense industry," said William Crossley, the Uhrig and Vournas Head of Purdue's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. "We have alumni with our undergraduate degrees and with our master's degrees who want this information. We have friends and partners of the school saying their employees need this information to help advance their knowledge base in hypersonics."
The four-course, 12-credit program from Purdue's highly ranked College of Engineering and School of Aeronautics and Astronautics teaches state-of-the-art methods in fluid dynamics, aerospace propulsion and materials that are integral to understanding hypersonic flight.
Students can tailor their programs from a selection of graduate-level courses taught by faculty from Purdue's flagship West Lafayette, Indiana, campus who are internationally known as leading experts in their fields.
The curriculum is arranged along tracks focused on hypersonic aerodynamics and vehicle design; propulsion systems; and materials, particularly those designed for the high heat transfer rates in hypersonics, said Gregory Blaisdell, professor and associate head for Purdue's Gambaro Graduate Program of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Fast in the extreme at more than five times the speed of sound, low-flying and highly maneuverable, hypersonic aircraft and weapons systems being developed by other countries are a major concern for U.S. national security.
Hypersonics research and development also are important in the growth of commercial space travel and in efforts to return to the moon and go to Mars. Spacecraft fly at hypersonic speeds leaving Earth's orbit as well as entering planetary atmospheres, and they must be designed, among other things, to deal with the extreme heat generated in the process.
The U.S. once was a leader in hypersonics, but budget reductions after the end of the Cold War stalled progress and allowed other countries, notably China and Russia, to continue moving ahead. Now the U.S. is in catchup mode and needs to increase its supply of people trained in the field.
Purdue's history in hypersonics spans decades, and rapid advances underway have turned the university into America's hypersonics research and testing epicenter. For example, Purdue is home to one of the few Mach 6 quiet wind tunnels in the world. In addition, Purdue is building a $41 million Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility, a lab that will feature the world's first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel and the Hypersonic Pulse (HYPULSE) reflected/shock expansion tunnel. The university also has approved plans for a first-of-its-kind Hypersonic Ground Test Center and a $73 million High Speed Propulsion Laboratory.
Purdue's prime position in the field and its unmatched facilities have attracted a multidisciplinary team of more than 40 faculty members who, among them, are working on virtually all aspects of hypersonics. In addition to the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Hypersonics Graduate Certificate program involves faculty members from Purdue's schools of Materials Engineering and of Mechanical Engineering.
"We have an unusually strong connection to industry and government," said aeronautics and astronautics professor Jonathan Poggie, who oversees a large hypersonics-focused research program at Purdue. "We work closely with all the major defense contractors and with the government labs all over the country. Pulling together academia, industry and government, plus the human capital here, make our hypersonics leadership unique."
Purdue's online Hypersonics Graduate Certificate will draw on the university's status as a top 10 public university, rated the No. 7 Best Value School in the U.S. (Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, 2022), and a top 10 Most Innovative School for five years running (U.S. News and World Report 2023).
For students who want to pursue a master's degree, credits from the Hypersonics Graduate Certificate also can be rolled into Purdue's online Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics.
For more information on Purdue's 100% online Hypersonics Graduate Certificate, visit the program website.
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