Advocating Hypersonics

Marion Blakey, Aerospace Industries Association president, on Thursday called on Congress to think strategically in the coming round of budget cuts and support research and development of hypersonic craft and the facilities necessary to develop and test them. Investment in the research and development of hypersonics “may take years” to pay off, but “failure to make that investment would be disastrous,” she told the House Aerospace Caucus during a Capital Hill discussion. Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aerodynamics, said at the same event the threat of China’s aerospace industry surpassing the United States “is real” and “we have to find a way to deal with that challenge.” Shin said in all aspects of aerospace, “we need to stay ahead—way ahead—not just a few years, but 10, 20 years or more” to preserve the US aerospace edge and continue to reap what is currently a $43.6 billion aeronautics trade surplus with the world. New technologies like hypersonics will be the key, he said, because in areas like regional commuter aircraft, “the market is flooded” with competitors in Europe, South America, and Asia, and is “already decided.” Shin said: “We have to create a new market” in hypersonics to remain ahead.