Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Member

Richard Figliola

Committee Member

Gregory Mocko

Committee Member

Yiqiang Han


Hypersonic flight is generally considered greater than Mach 5 and represents an important frontier in aircraft capabilities. Difficulties arise because hypersonic flow differs from supersonic and subsonic flow, driving a need for different hypersonic aircraft configurations, as evidenced by the history of hypersonic flight. To assist in beginning the conceptual design of hypersonic aircraft, a process is outlined for hypersonic design initialization based on historical aircraft data and primarily composed of design data and regression models. It is a rapid, low-fidelity analysis to provide a starting point for the conceptual design process by assessing vehicle type, providing initial estimates for weights and geometry with uncertainty, and exploring changes in estimates with design spaces. Using this framework, an initial set of reasonable aircraft configurations is obtained based on speed, altitude, and payload requirements. The initialization process is outlined for rocket-powered, air-launched hypersonic vehicles, but additional design data and regression models are provided for other types of hypersonic vehicles. An example is provided to demonstrate how the outlined process would be used to begin the conceptual design of a new hypersonic aircraft with a given set of mission requirements.



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