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It’s been a long time since Australia was a player in space exploration, however, UQ wants to change that – with the help of a plane that travels five times the speed of sound. Combining uncrewed scramjets with conventional rockets could radically reduce the costs of blasting satellites into orbit.

UQ’s Professor Michael Smart is aiming to get Australia back into the satellite launch business with hypersonic aircraft that also hold the promise of radically reducing flight times on Earth. Most aerospace journalists have written a story on hypersonic travel, promising flights from London to Sydney in two hours, and there have been several proposals to help realise that dream. But could combining conventional rockets and scramjets be the answer instead?


Image of Professor Michael SmartProfessor Michael Smart, Chair of Hypersonic Propulsion

Prof Michael Smart’s research interests are in: Hypersonic aerodynamics, scramjets, compressible fluid flow. Professor Smart, who graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) at UQ in 1985 and Master of Engineering Science at UQ in 1987, was awarded a PhD at the Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, New York, in 1995.

He was appointed an Associate Professor in the Centre for Hypersonics in 2005 after spending 10 years as a research scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. He is the chief investigator on the five-year National and International Research Alliances partnership collaboration between UQ, the Queensland Government, Boeing, USAF and DSTO to conduct scramjet-related flight tests as part of the HiFIRE program.

As head of UQ's HyShot Group, Professor Smart leads scramjet related research within the Centre for Hypersonics, with particular emphasis on flight applications. He received the 2012 International Congress for Aeronatucs (ICAS) Von Karman Award for International Co-operation in Aeronautics.

About Global Leadership Series

The Global Leadership Series (GLS) is a lively program of events for alumni and community members. Join us for lectures and discussions with the best of the best UQ-related speakers on matters that impact your community and shape your ideas of the world.

The series is an opportunity for you to engage with great minds on global matters, participate in thought-provoking discussions and network with UQ alumni and community members. All alumni, parents, community members and friends are welcome to attend the Global Leadership Series events.

Listen to podcasts of previous GLS events click here

$30.00 per person


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