Research Facilities

Purdue University to Build Hypersonic Ground Test Facility

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., announced this week that it will build a facility to test hypersonic technologies in the Purdue Aerospace District near the main campus. The Hypersonic Ground Test Center (HGTC) will be the first facility of its kind in the U.S. and will serve as a central, shared research center featuring multiple laboratories and test cells.

According to a news release, the HGTC is the third major development of the Purdue Aerospace District that has been announced within the last month. The university announced plans for a 65,000-square-foot Hypersonic Applied Research Facility in late July, which will feature the world’s only Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel. And in early August, it announced a partnership with Rolls-Royce to build test facilities for high-altitude and hybrid-electric engines.

“At Purdue, we’re committed to research at the very frontiers of science, especially when it can contribute to the national security of Americans,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “Becoming home to the nation’s premier hypersonics facilities can make such a contribution while providing enormous new opportunities for our researchers, aspiring entrepreneurs and job-seeking graduates.”

A brand-new, nonprofit consortium of national defense industry partners will administer the HGTC, according to a press release, and will manage the capital and operational costs. Rolls-Royce North America will serve as the first aerospace industry member of the consortium; conversations with other industry partners and government industries are currently in progress.

The HGTC complex will house two separate testing streams for the 3.5–5.0 Mach and the 4.5–7.5 Mach range. The space will allow for multiple companies to simultaneously conduct research and testing while also preserving privacy and intellectual property. Its facilities will be available for long-term leases, allowing contractors to make progress at their own pace.

“Creating this first-in-the-nation center is possible because we have industry partners that aren’t just on the cutting edge but are reinventing where the edge is,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. “Couple that with the many thriving communities in Tippecanoe County, and a gushing pipeline of top talent at Purdue including researchers, students and graduates prepared to make the next giant leaps in both aerospace and hypersonic innovation. It’s because of days like today that our economy remains strong and Indiana reigns as one of the best places in the world to do business.”

The Hypersonic Ground Test Center’s construction will be funded by Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation. The Purdue Research Foundation partnered with NineTwelve for the project’s draft design, capabilities and requirements.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].