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UniSQ to access hypersonic simulation software

Researchers at the University of Southern Queensland will be trained to use software that can simulate hypersonic space missions in a deal facilitated by the iLAuNCH research collaboration.

As part of the agreement, software engineering company LEAP Australia will provide scientists with access to the ANSYS suite of tools, which can model aerodynamics and structures.

While hypersonic technology – defined as flying at least five times the speed of sound – is nothing new, countries are currently in an arms’ race to develop the next generation of missiles that are so manoeuvrable in midair they can’t be intercepted or detected.

The advances are also being used to create scramjet-powered hypersonic spaceplanes, which could one day provide an alternative to rockets for taking satellites into space.


UniSQ already has its own pioneering wind tunnel that can simulate the effect of Mach 5 speeds on vehicles and the heat it generates.

“Through our industry partnership, we are making available multimillion-dollar software tools to design and develop high-performance, high-speed vehicles,” said iLAuNCH Trailblazer executive director Darin Lovett.

“iLAuNCH will provide a hands-on experience in advanced simulation techniques to develop the skilled workforce for the hypersonics projects of the future.”

UniSQ associate professor Ingo Jahn will lead the project and is part of the hypersonic and Rocketry team that worked on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx and JAXA’s Hayabusa2 capsule re-entry missions, which involved hypersonic airborne observations.


“We will learn by doing, partnering with LEAP Australia to bring in the powerful suite of ANSYS tools to simulate hypersonic phenomena and missions,” said Jahn.

“We hope to demonstrate capabilities of the ANSYS modelling suite to simulate hypersonic aerodynamics and to develop a multi-physics workflow to simulate hypervelocity re-entries, including how they can be observed from ground (or airborne) observation station.”

The $180-million iLAuNCH trailblazer is a partnership between academic institutions and more than 20 industry partners that aims to accelerate the development of the space manufacturing sector.

Since its inception in 2022, it already had scores of projects. Earlier this year, for example, Space Connect reported how iLAuNCH would use AI to help monitor the health of astronauts.

It believes the ability to access real-time data could aid human diagnosis and treatment during spaceflight, which in turn could lead to developments to help those living in isolated areas of Earth.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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