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All Ahead Slow for Hypersonics at NASA

DSE

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All Ahead Slow for Hypersonics at NASA
Posted by Graham Warwick at 2/15/2011 8:04 AM CST
NASA plans to cut back on hypersonics research in its fiscal 2012 budget, transferring the funds to projects related to increasing airspace capacity and reducing environmental impacts for commercial aviation. It won't come as a superprise to the hypersonics community, which has seen NASA cut back its research before.

Associate administrator for aeronautics Jaiwon Shin says the $24.7 million being redirected from hypersonics to other projects in fiscal 2012 will impact system-level research on concepts such as turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engines for air-breathing reusable launch vehicles.

Shin says NASA will refocus on fundamental hypersonics research and the development of simulation tools, computational codes and analysis capabilities to retain its core skills. But the cuts mean NASA will have to rely on other agencies - ie the Pentagon - to conduct flight experiments to validate those tools.

Work under way within the hypersonics program on an inflatable decelerator for planetary entry, descent and landing will continue, but further development will be funded by NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, Shin says. But experimental work on inlet mode transition and high-Mach fans for TBCC engines will be cut back.
 

RSF

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Its sad to see NASA cutting funding for this type of research and as before its three steps forward and two steps back. :(

This type of technology is critical to making single stage to orbit (SSTO) space vehicles a reality.

Hopefully some of this research will continue in the world of US black projects, and of course there is UK/European/Japanese research that will continue.

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/downloads/JBIS_v56_108-117.pdf
 

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RSF said:
This type of technology is critical to making single stage to orbit (SSTO) space vehicles a reality.

Errrr... no. Airbreathing hypersonic engines are useful for hypersonic transports (and similar military aircraft), and might be useful for a two-stage system, but would be largely ridiculous for a single stage to orbit vehicle. Liquid oxygen - unlike the excess liquid hydrogen the airbreather would need - is very dense. Rocket engines - unlike hypersonic airbreathing engines - are simple, lightweight, well-understood and relatively cheap. Going straight up - unlike a slow more or less horizontal airbreathing climb - produces less dynamic and aerothermal heating stresses on the airframe.

If you had an functional airbreathing SSTO, the technologies that would make it possible would have made a rocket SSTO damn near *easy.*
 

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RSF said:
This type of technology is critical to making single stage to orbit (SSTO) space vehicles a reality.

EDIT:Oh, Scott said the same as me but here goes:

There's lots of evidence saying airbreathing is good for high speed cruise, not for acceleration. Orbital launches are acceleration missions. In many studies, dry mass of two stage pure rockets tends to be lower than one or two or three stage vehicles including air breathers (If you exclude stuff like subsonic air launch for the sake of discussion) of similar performance (payload to orbit).

If you look at programs like NASP, they did pretty crazy things like very shallow trajectories with prolonged flight in the atmosphere at very high speeds, causing drastic heating problems, to justify their air breathing.

All in all, it looks to me as the hypersonic airbreather is a solution looking for a problem. Maybe useful for missiles but not for space launch.
 

mz

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I think it's one of the most persistent myths about hypersonic airbreathing that they are very useful for space launch.

It's repeated by NASA or any organization doing studies with them and of course repeated by the media since they don't have the engineering or science background to examine the validity of the PR office claims.

Any editor or journalist reading this, take note, even ask some of your trusted aerospace engineer contacts (not themselves working on airbreathers or rocket launchers) on some air breather vs pure rocket studies...
 

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mz said:
If you look at programs like NASP, they did pretty crazy things like very shallow trajectories with prolonged flight in the atmosphere at very high speeds, causing drastic heating problems, to justify their air breathing.

Rockets go straight up at launch. Not because that's the only physically possible way to go, but because "straight up" is the quickest way out of the atmosphere. By the time the Shuttle is going Mach 6 or so, it's beyond the vast bulk of the sensible atmosphere, and can forge on ahead to orbital velocity without further aerothermal heating issues. But at Mach 6, the airbreathing launch vehicle is just getting started. Bits of the X-15 started melting off at those speeds... but the poor airbreathing SSTO has to keep plowing ahead, and in fact has to accelerate to *four* times this speed while still in the atmosphere.
 

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mz said:
I think it's one of the most persistent myths about hypersonic airbreathing that they are very useful for space launch.

It's repeated by NASA or any organization doing studies with them and of course repeated by the media since they don't have the engineering or science background to examine the validity of the PR office claims.

Any editor or journalist reading this, take note, even ask some of your trusted aerospace engineer contacts (not themselves working on airbreathers or rocket launchers) on some air breather vs pure rocket studies...

That's because unfortunately it is the only way to sell it within NASA and now in some parts of the USAF. At least the SSTO dream has been replaced by TSTO and much of the technology and work to be done on a TSTO 1st stage air-breather is applicable to more cruise related missions.

The sad fact about this article is that it is a +ve spin. The 50% cut is on top of a 30% reduction for FY12 that was all ready in the plan. The even sadder fact is that NASA's and this country's ground test capability across the speed range is hemorrhaging and there is no plan in place that even attempts to stop it. This is a fallout from a $0.5M aeronautics budget down from the $1.1M of the Vic Lebacq days when "the sky was falling." Now everything is fine, except don't blink because some major facilities are in dire straights and might just close before your eyes..
 

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Orionblamblam said:
RSF said:
This type of technology is critical to making single stage to orbit (SSTO) space vehicles a reality.

Errrr... no. Airbreathing hypersonic engines are useful for hypersonic transports (and similar military aircraft), and might be useful for a two-stage system, but would be largely ridiculous for a single stage to orbit vehicle. Liquid oxygen - unlike the excess liquid hydrogen the airbreather would need - is very dense. Rocket engines - unlike hypersonic airbreathing engines - are simple, lightweight, well-understood and relatively cheap. Going straight up - unlike a slow more or less horizontal airbreathing climb - produces less dynamic and aerothermal heating stresses on the airframe.

If you had an functional airbreathing SSTO, the technologies that would make it possible would have made a rocket SSTO damn near *easy.*

The reality is, that the first SSTO will probably be a combination of airbreather and rocket.

And there is an airbreathing camp that won't stop improving high mach airbreathers, because of the inherent flexibility they create.

The funding will have to be private. That has been proven at this point I think.
 

mz

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shockonlip said:
Orionblamblam said:
RSF said:
This type of technology is critical to making single stage to orbit (SSTO) space vehicles a reality.

Errrr... no. Airbreathing hypersonic engines are useful for hypersonic transports (and similar military aircraft), and might be useful for a two-stage system, but would be largely ridiculous for a single stage to orbit vehicle. Liquid oxygen - unlike the excess liquid hydrogen the airbreather would need - is very dense. Rocket engines - unlike hypersonic airbreathing engines - are simple, lightweight, well-understood and relatively cheap. Going straight up - unlike a slow more or less horizontal airbreathing climb - produces less dynamic and aerothermal heating stresses on the airframe.

If you had an functional airbreathing SSTO, the technologies that would make it possible would have made a rocket SSTO damn near *easy.*

The reality is, that the first SSTO will probably be a combination of airbreather and rocket.

And there is an airbreathing camp that won't stop improving high mach airbreathers, because of the inherent flexibility they create.

The funding will have to be private. That has been proven at this point I think.

Flexible perhaps in low fuel consumption in their speed range, that's good for missile use. Anything else - extremely inflexible. Large dry mass, huge size, low thrust, using them always dictates the whole vehicle's aerodynamic and all other design. Very complex and hard to design inlets, practically unknown at this point and hard to test, narrow speed range. And they need rockets both before and after. (Or alternatively turbines before.)

It's like trying to plow a field with a Ferrari. It's a nice vehicle when on the road and a technological marvel but it's practically useless for that purpose.
 

shockonlip

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mz said:
shockonlip said:
Orionblamblam said:
RSF said:
This type of technology is critical to making single stage to orbit (SSTO) space vehicles a reality.

Errrr... no. Airbreathing hypersonic engines are useful for hypersonic transports (and similar military aircraft), and might be useful for a two-stage system, but would be largely ridiculous for a single stage to orbit vehicle. Liquid oxygen - unlike the excess liquid hydrogen the airbreather would need - is very dense. Rocket engines - unlike hypersonic airbreathing engines - are simple, lightweight, well-understood and relatively cheap. Going straight up - unlike a slow more or less horizontal airbreathing climb - produces less dynamic and aerothermal heating stresses on the airframe.

If you had an functional airbreathing SSTO, the technologies that would make it possible would have made a rocket SSTO damn near *easy.*

The reality is, that the first SSTO will probably be a combination of airbreather and rocket.

And there is an airbreathing camp that won't stop improving high mach airbreathers, because of the inherent flexibility they create.

The funding will have to be private. That has been proven at this point I think.

Flexible perhaps in low fuel consumption in their speed range, that's good for missile use. Anything else - extremely inflexible. Large dry mass, huge size, low thrust, using them always dictates the whole vehicle's aerodynamic and all other design. Very complex and hard to design inlets, practically unknown at this point and hard to test, narrow speed range. And they need rockets both before and after. (Or alternatively turbines before.)

It's like trying to plow a field with a Ferrari. It's a nice vehicle when on the road and a technological marvel but it's practically useless for that purpose.

Well, I'm not tring to plow a field with them. And I don't know if you've ever driven
a Ferrari, but I have and they're really competent. In fact, I've owned two of them in
the past! These kinds of vehicles are the safest and fastest vehicles I've every driven!
And I never gotten tired or sleepy driving one, and I've taken them on long trips and
driven them at speed in bad weather. In fact you should have heard the comments from
my passenger, on a business trip, in bad wether: "this thing feels better the faster we go".
Anyway to end the anology, but all cars should be as competent!

So we will stop using supersonic airbreathers and use rockets instead ?

Why am I bringing that up? Because we successfully developed supersonic (Mach 3+)
airbreathing technology because we needed to.

We haven't built a hypersonic airbreather because we haven't ever needed one.

A number of companies have proposed them, and have shown that they could be built,
but they were never funded.

So you're basically saying that the technology has all these problems, but we
haven't finished developing the technology and funded building one, except for a SSTO,
which is like von Braun or Goddard trying to build the orbital rocket first.

As proper development occurs, the technology problems will be solved.
 

RSF

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Orionblamblam said:
RSF said:
This type of technology is critical to making single stage to orbit (SSTO) space vehicles a reality.

Errrr... no. Airbreathing hypersonic engines are useful for hypersonic transports (and similar military aircraft), and might be useful for a two-stage system, but would be largely ridiculous for a single stage to orbit vehicle. Liquid oxygen - unlike the excess liquid hydrogen the airbreather would need - is very dense. Rocket engines - unlike hypersonic airbreathing engines - are simple, lightweight, well-understood and relatively cheap. Going straight up - unlike a slow more or less horizontal airbreathing climb - produces less dynamic and aerothermal heating stresses on the airframe.

If you had an functional airbreathing SSTO, the technologies that would make it possible would have made a rocket SSTO damn near *easy.*

Uh, no that's not actually correct. There are several non-military hypersonic single stage to orbit programs currently underway. Both Skylon and ATREX are proposed air breathing systems that transition to rocket propulsion above Mach 5. If they could be made to work they could give an improved orbital mass fraction vs. pure rocket (staged) vehicles (larger payload).

I would also point out that the sitting on your tail going straight up has created many of the problems that you mentioned including dynamic and aerothermal stresses, which is precisely why the Space Shuttle actually throttles down during ascent to reduce these stresses on the vehicle at low altitude.

Please see the attached link for more information on the aforementioned air breathing SSTO projects.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Single_stage_to_orbit#Airbreathing_SSTO
 

mz

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shockonlip said:
mz said:
Flexible perhaps in low fuel consumption in their speed range, that's good for missile use. Anything else - extremely inflexible. Large dry mass, huge size, low thrust, using them always dictates the whole vehicle's aerodynamic and all other design. Very complex and hard to design inlets, practically unknown at this point and hard to test, narrow speed range. And they need rockets both before and after. (Or alternatively turbines before.)

It's like trying to plow a field with a Ferrari. It's a nice vehicle when on the road and a technological marvel but it's practically useless for that purpose.

Well, I'm not tring to plow a field with them. And I don't know if you've ever driven
a Ferrari, but I have and they're really competent. In fact, I've owned two of them in
the past! These kinds of vehicles are the safest and fastest vehicles I've every driven!
And I never gotten tired or sleepy driving one, and I've taken them on long trips and
driven them at speed in bad weather. In fact you should have heard the comments from
my passenger, on a business trip, in bad wether: "this thing feels better the faster we go".
Anyway to end the anology, but all cars should be as competent!

Well, trying to space launch with an air breather is like trying to plow a field with a Ferrari. :) For all it's quality and high technology, it's not the right tool for that. A 50 year old Fordson would beat it any day.
Haven't driven one, I'm very envious, but the ever more competent a vehicle gets on the road, probably the less competent it gets on the field, that's what I'm aiming at.

It reminds me of the other age old canard: about ion engines and VASIMR. Usually it's the "give NASA money so they can continue this program and then people can fly to Mars in weeks" style argument. Getting technical, they say look how great high specific impulse (which they say is like fuel efficiency in a car) we get with these designs, when in reality the ISP is only a detriment because you need an external power source which is much heavier than the fuel expended. With electric propulsion, for the same thrust and impulse, higher ISP results in higher total mass for practically all missions that don't last for decades and require tens of km/s delta vees.

You have to understand the technology to say that the ISP rules of thumb that apply with chemical rockets don't apply in this very different case.

Incidentally, the same ISP argument is used as a motivation for air breathers. Here ISP really helps but it's the other factors (that don't really count in rockets since they are negligible) that are bad with air breathers that just go unmentioned.

So we will stop using supersonic airbreathers and use rockets instead ?

Why am I bringing that up? Because we successfully developed supersonic (Mach 3+)
airbreathing technology because we needed to.

We haven't built a hypersonic airbreather because we haven't ever needed one.

Probably useful in a missile (or even a reconnaissance craft) that cruises long distances at that hypersonic design point.
That's the Ferrari.

Practically useless in space launch.
That's where the tractor, the rocket, shines.

Different usage.

A number of companies have proposed them, and have shown that they could be built,
but they were never funded.

So you're basically saying that the technology has all these problems, but we
haven't finished developing the technology and funded building one, except for a SSTO,
which is like von Braun or Goddard trying to build the orbital rocket first.

Those problems don't matter for *cruise* because you don't need wide speed range or high thrust for that.
They are killers for space launch missions.

NASP was a crazy program. As was X-33 the way it was done. You can often bench test technologies to at least some confidence level far far quicker and less expensively than trying to use billions to just build a vehicle straight out with some idealistic materials. That's just wasting taxpayer and investor money. And employee efforts and public trust.

As proper development occurs, the technology problems will be solved.

It's stupid to try to push a bad solution for a problem when better ones exist.

Use tractors for plowing the fields and Ferraris for road driving, ok? Both suck at each others' uses.

Let's use another analogy: the toilet seat and the bathtub. One is good for putting dirty things to, the other one is good for washing yourself. You don't want to use one for the other's functions, nor would you want to develop either further towards the other, although they might look a bit similar to some observers and share some technology like perhaps coatings and plumbing connections. :) One might say "oooh but the bath tub is sooo big, a toilet seat would be much cheaper and take much less space". Yes but you can't actually get into the toilet seat. You'd have to sit down on it. All the water from the shower would spill all over the place. And you couldn't bathe at all. It would be useless. The toilet seat is very good as a toilet seat, much better than the bathtub. But it's much worse as a bathtub.

Why did jet aircraft not replace propeller aircraft in all uses? Because propellers are simply better for some uses while they are worse for others. Why are there still helos, why didn't we transition to VTOL jets for sightseeing, SAR and police work instead? Because the physics is against that. It's not a question of improvements required in VTOL jet technology, it would be pointless. I mean, why would someone try to do that? They'd need to be technically illiterate. Maybe if we have antimatter technology so we can waste power with abandon...

Rockets are extremely good for very high thrust, very light weight, they don't care about the speed of the vehicle they're on at all, they can operate in the vacuum, they don't have any effect on vehicle aerodynamics... None of which hypersonic airbreathers are good at, they're not even decent, they are absolutely horrible in these issues. And all of these are very relevant for launchers.

You can go around some of them if you stage a lot and only use (sometimes different) air breathers in some stages so the speed ranges are narrower and the high dry mass doesn't have to be carried that far.
 

mz

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To amend myself, I can say that at least the Skylon SABRE cycle uses precooling and mechanical compression so it's all subsonic flow inside and it's quite small for the thrust, for a hypersonic airbreather. SABRE could make for a nice first stage in a two stage system or a second stage in a three stage system. If it works.

In total, the Skylon on paper is about the wet weight of Delta IV, about 275 vs 250 t takeoff mass, while payloads are 12 t for Skylon and 8.6 t for the Delta. Don't know what the original planned payload of the single stick Delta IV was, probably 10 t, but then it met reality.
 

shockonlip

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mz, I disagree with your analogy. I appreciate you trying to dumb it down for me,
but I don't need that. I am not the local rotary club who needs an analogy with
common things to make sense of a complex topic.

I intend to work on this stuff some day so I read a lot about it. Books, tech papers,
attend classes, etc.

When I earlier said that:
"As proper development occurs, the technology problems will be solved."

You replied:
"It's stupid to try to push a bad solution for a problem when better ones exist"

Well then I guess I'm stupid ! Except I don't see this as a bad solution. I see it
as the future.

After all, given the 100X combustion pressures that rockets have today over airbreathers,
rocket technology has not had an easy time of it either. Combustion instabilities, and even
having to handle high temperatures in the nozzle and chamber walls, as well as being able
to pump fuel and oxidizer to the large pressures required mechanically, to say nothing of
having to handle Mach 25 air loads and aerothermodynamics on reentry, show that these
problems can be solved. I think of the turbine airfoils in the hottest sections of todays
jet engines as airfoils subjected to hypersonic environments. I see the regen. cooled walls
of rocket nozzles and combustion chambers as similar to sections of hypersonic airbreather
airframes. Did you know that one of the next development ideas for rockets is supersonic
turbines? Maybe some day we'll see supersonic combustion in turbopumps downstream of fully
supersonic turbines? You never know!

Airbreather SSTOs will require levels of efficiency never before attained by any airbreathing
vehicle. They will have to learn how to use the heat they create and also how to lose minimum
energy. This is the study of exergy which is popularized these days in airbreathing SSTO
technical papers. There is also the usage of high temperature environments that airbreathers
create to cause low temperature plasmas to do the work of variable geometry in inlets and nozzles
and help accelerate flows in combustors and also to help with aerodynamic flow control, onboard
power generation plasma assisted combustion, and advanced endothermic fuels. In other words,
taking energy out of the high temperature envionment and using it.

These things are a ways off, but I find them extremely interesting, and the way some people
like me work, is they like to figure new stuff out! So maybe in the end we'll be left with today's
rocket. But I don't think so.

So I am hopeless and don't want to be saved!

Regards!
 

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IMHO, if Reaction Engines get their multi-filament heat exchanger to work at full scale, it is a game-changer. IIRC, it uses a lot of its liquid hydrogen purely as coolant, though the waste channel serves as an afterburner of sorts...

Being able to run-up such an engine on the ground then fly it throughout Mach / altitude envelope without rocket function, then 'retrofitting' that function means, IMHO, that reliance on hypersonic wind tunnel testing is not essential...

At least they'll be able to study hypersonic 'heat-soak' issues for more than the few seconds NASA have managed...

Of course, their extraordinary heat exchanger must work as advertised, Aeolian (Or Eolian;)) harping and all...
 

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The fall out begins. The current round of the NASA FAP Hypersonic Propulsion NRAs slated for award later this CY have been at least temporarily suspended.
 

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The fallout has become a bloodletting, somebody get a tourniquet.

The Administration proposes to reduce funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hypersonics research, especially in the area of hypersonic air-breathing propulsion systems that are lower-priority and do not benefit civil aviation in the near-term.

FY11 = ~$60M ==> FY12 = $25M ==> FY13 = $4M

Justification
The Administration proposes a $21 million cut to reduce the scope and content of the hypersonic research
in NASA's Fundamental Aeronautics program. NASA will combine hypersonic and supersonic research
into a single project to focus on fundamental research for high-speed flight. Research into hypersonic flight
is relevant to the Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA will retain critical core competencies and national
asset testing capabilities to continue productive collaborations with DOD. Research for Entry, Descent, and
Landing (EDL) is required for NASA's future exploration and planetary science missions. EDL research
will be transferred to NASA's Space Technology program to increase synergy with the agency's exploration
and science missions. These reductions and realignment will enable NASA to focus on higher-priority
research to improve the safety and minimize the environmental impacts of current and future aircraft and
air traffic management systems.
 

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sferrin

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No worrys. We'll somehow pull a rabbit out of the hat when we discover we need that stuff. Who needs research? Who needs expertise?
 

Sundog

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DSE said:
The fallout has become a bloodletting, somebody get a tourniquet.

The Administration proposes to reduce funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hypersonics research, especially in the area of hypersonic air-breathing propulsion systems that are lower-priority and do not benefit civil aviation in the near-term.

FY11 = $55M ==> FY12 = $21M ==> FY13 = $4M

Justification
The Administration proposes a $21 million cut to reduce the scope and content of the hypersonic research
in NASA's Fundamental Aeronautics program. NASA will combine hypersonic and supersonic research
into a single project to focus on fundamental research for high-speed flight. Research into hypersonic flight
is relevant to the Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA will retain critical core competencies and national
asset testing capabilities to continue productive collaborations with DOD. Research for Entry, Descent, and
Landing (EDL) is required for NASA's future exploration and planetary science missions. EDL research
will be transferred to NASA's Space Technology program to increase synergy with the agency's exploration
and science missions. These reductions and realignment will enable NASA to focus on higher-priority
research to improve the safety and minimize the environmental impacts of current and future aircraft and
air traffic management systems.

Don't worry, the free market will take care of it. ROFL!!!!!
 

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Darpa Budget Supports Hypersonics Feb 14, 2012
By Graham Warwick

[/t][/t]
New programs to continue research into boost-glide hypersonic weapons for tactical and global precision strike are included in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (Darpa) $2.82 billion budget request for fiscal 2013.


The agency’s top line is essentially unchanged from fiscal 2012, but this disguises significant ramp-ups in spending on research into advanced cybersecurity and information technology to protect military networks. Darpa is seeking $25 million for cyber-sciences and $50 million for cyber-technology programs in fiscal 2013, almost double the 2012 spending. Funding levels are planned to double again by fiscal 2016.


New starts planned for 2013 include the Collaborative Hypersonic Research (CHR) program to demonstrate a boost-glide vehicle as a precursor to a tactical long-range strike weapon capable of launch on a 21-in. or larger booster.


Darpa is seeking $11 million in 2013 to start the “flight experiment-intensive” CHR program, which is intended to build on the U.S./Australian HiFire multi-flight hypersonic test effort as well as the agency’s two brief HTV-2 flights. As a follow-on the HTV-2, another $38 million is sought for the hypersonic technologies program to investigate aerodynamic, materials, guidance and communications technologies for long-range hypersonic cruise.


Both Darpa projects are intended to support the Pentagon’s conventional prompt global strike program.
 

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http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/researchernews/rn_garvervisit.html

"Decisions leading up to the 2013 budget request sharply reduced funds for an agency program in education and a Langley program in hypersonic propulsion,"

"In the end, the hypersonic program didn't fit into any NASA directory budget, Garver said. Also, though the Department of Defense is keen on air-breathing propulsion development, it was not keen enough to fund research in the field."
 

DSE

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http://www.aviationweek.com/awin

"Faced with a cut in its fiscal 2013 aeronautics budget, NASA plans to reduce its hypersonics research, but maintain spending in technologies for subsonic and supersonic fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.

NASA is requesting $551.5 million for aeronautics research in 2013, down from $569.4 million in 2012. “The budget is very tight. We got $18 million less than we requested,” says Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for aeronautics.

Funding is projected to remain at the lower 2013 level for the next several years. The reduction will be absorbed by cutting hypersonics research “while maintaining our core capabilities,” he says.


NASA conducts hypersonic research in two areas. Work on technologies for planetary entry, descent and landing will be transferred intact to NASA’s Space Technology program: “Nothing will be lost,” Shin says.

Work on air-breathing hypersonic technologies for access to space will be cut back and merged into NASA’s supersonic research program. “We’re not canceling everything,” Shin says, but work on turbine-based combined-cycle propulsion and structurally integrated thermal-protection systems will be reduced.

Research and testing capabilities associated with NASA Langley Research Center’s high-temperature wind tunnel, which is able to test supersonic-combustion ramjet engines, will be maintained “to support the future needs of NAS [national airspace system] and outside programs,” he says.

NASA is rejiggering its aeronautics programs to accommodate the budget-driven changes. Merging supersonic and hypersonic research will result in a new High Speed Program, with continued work on low-boom supersonic aircraft as its main focus."
 

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Shin acknowledged that the $18 million shortfall was made up from hypersonic research, a Langley staple for decades, and he met criticism of the cut head on. Citing a desire to realign NASA Langley with a look toward increased technology development as well as forging partnerships to better handle tough fiscal times, Lesa Roe, the center director, has submitted a Langley reorganization plan for agency approval.

Still, he did not sugarcoat the hypersonic issue, one that has drawn criticism from people in the field since the budget request was announced in February.

Shin said he has talked with the Air Force about working with NASA in hypersonic research and added that the agency would try to retain Langley's 8-foot High Temperature tunnel. It's a unique facility in hypersonic testing.

"It's a very encouraging message," Shin said of the Air Force's interest in working with NASA on hypersonic research. "But nothing is guaranteed."

He added, "This is not lip service. I don't do lip service."

Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words.



http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/researchernews/rn_shinvisit12.html
 

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