Hypersonic speed occurs at Mach 5 or higher, or 5 times the speed of sound. The University of Arizona is home to some of the best facilities that are instrumental in conducting quality research in the field of hypersonics. This research is used to understand the aerodynamic effects on objects such as aircraft and missiles.

Our Hypersonics Competencies

Arizona Materials Lab

Arizona Materials Lab (AML) is a world-class materials research laboratory that has multiple research facilities. This lab studies glass materials, novel materials chemistry, advanced ceramics, and composites. The mission of the AML is to provide Materials Science Engineering faculty, postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students a collaborative and synergistic environment in which to conduct their research.  (Dr. Erica L. Corral)

Boundary-Layer Stability and Transition Laboratory

The Boundary-Layer Stability and Transition Laboratory (BLST) is an experimental aerodynamics facility. The BLST is focused primarily on the study of laminar-turblent transition with the goal of improving the understanding of this phenomenon so that physics-based modeling and control strategies may be developed.  (Dr. Stuart “Alex” Craig)

Turbulence and Flow Control Laboratory

The Turbulence and Flow Control Laboratory (TFCL) research focuses on experimental studies of flow physics and flow control at both the basic and applied levels. Efforts are primarily concerned with fundamental aspects of aerodynamics and propulsion in both subsonic and supersonic flows. Many of the TFCL projects are done in close collaboration with research groups having expertise in computational and theoretical fluid dynamics. (Dr. Jesse Little)

UA Aerospace and Mechanical engineering By The Numbers

Research in the field of hypersonics will help military and space exploration industries advance technology and make endeavors such as civilian spacecraft closer to a reality.

State Ranking Among Aerospace Manufacturing
Top 30% Mechanical Engineering Schools
R&D Ranking Among Public Universities
World Ranking Among Aerospace Engineering Schools

Hypersonics Laboratories and Research Centers

UA-ARC has access to several facilities within the University of Arizona’s Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering program. The UA is home to a Mach 5 and Mach 4 wind tunnel, aiding in the high-level testing which contributes to the advanced research of hypersonics such as missiles and transportation.

Key Facts About Hypersonics

4:1 Graduate Student to Faculty Ratio
The university is home to T&E-scale wind tunnels spanning Mach 0 to 5. Classified research capability
6th Highest Paying College Major

Hypersonics News

$10M elevates UArizona hypersonics facilities to national prominence

University of Arizona aerospace and mechanical engineering researchers have received $3.5 million in funding from the state of Arizona’s investment in the New Economy Initiative and $6.5 million in federal support through the Department of Defense’s Test Resource Management Center to upgrade hypersonic facilities and related research infrastructure.


Engineer awarded $4.5M to develop AI-powered hypersonic guidance and navigation systems

By Emily Dieckman, College of Engineering

As countries around the world work to advance weapons traveling at Mach 5 and faster, a team led by University of Arizona experts is building a “brain” for high-speed vehicles and interceptors.


University of Arizona works to help close gap in hypersonic arms race

The United States has joined a security alliance to develop hypersonic missiles.

The U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia will not only work to develop those missiles, but find a way to stop them.

This comes as Russia has fired hypersonic missiles at Ukraine.

“Hypersonic weapons are so fast, so maneuverable that modern defenses can’t really stop them,” said Dr. Alex Craig, an assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Arizona.


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