- Advocacy & Policy
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Emerging Aerospace Technologies was the topic of last week's House Aerospace luncheon.
House Aerospace Caucus co-chairs Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) made brief introductory remarks. During the lunch, NASA Associate Administrator for Aerodynamics Dr. Jaiwon Shin highlighted competitiveness concerns for the U.S. aerospace industry but also pointed out the promise of hypersonic technology.
However, in Shin’s view, the longer term threat of China overtaking American preeminence in aerospace is real and we have to find a way to deal with that challenge. He said hypersonic technology could be the deciding factor in the global competition for superior aerospace capability.
By building a new market in hypersonics the United States can continue to look forward to superior aeronautic trade surpluses – which are currently upwards of $50 billion. While staying ahead of the world in fields like hypersonics will be essential to maintaining aerospace competitiveness, Shin declared that we must stay ahead by “not just a few years, but 10, 20 years or more."
Charles Brink, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s X-51 program manager, provided an update on the failed supersonic combustion scramjet test conducted earlier this year. According to Brink, the test actually produced more thrust than expected.
"The neat thing that happened on the second flight is that … we made too much thrust, we made too much power," said Brink.
Brink’s disappointment with the failure was tempered by the fact that so much thrust was produced. The challenge now at AFRL will be to figure out how to harness that power. AFRL hopes to fly a third test in the spring and embark on a new “robust scramjet” engine project potentially for fighter aircraft applications.
AIA’s National Security Space Committee empaneled a working group on hypersonics technologies this year that developed an industry position paper advocating sustained commitment to hypersonics programs.
Especially in times of budget austerity, AIA believes it is critical that government continue to provide stable funding for next-generation technology development. This working group was instrumental in developing hypersonics advocacy efforts during National Aerospace Week and plans to continue those efforts including interacting with key government leaders in the field.
Read AIA’s white paper on hypersonics.
If your company would like to participate in AIA’s hypersonics technology working group, please contact AIA’s Mike Conschafter at email@example.com.