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World expert outlines the future for air space travel
by Staff Writers
Glasgow UK (SPX) May 17, 2012


"The ten seconds of flight of the X-43 unmanned hypersonic aircraft may seem short compared to the sustained performance that one day will be required to wing us in comfort to Tokyo in two hours, but it is an auspicious start. We do need to remember that the first flight by the Wright brothers was shorter than the wingspan of the jumbo jets that now routinely carry us from one corner of the globe to the other."

One of the world's leading figures in future air space travel, Dr Mark J Lewis, will visit the University of Strathclyde to highlight the progress in technology that could see round-the-world flights taking a fraction of the time that they do currently.

Dr Lewis's public lecture, Progress in Hypersonic Flight: Pushing the Envelope Higher and Faster, is closely linked to the work of the University's Centre for Future Air-Space Transportation Technology (cFASTT), a research centre dedicated to revolutionising future air and space travel.

A professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland, Dr Lewis is Director-elect of the Science and Technology Institute, Institute for Defense Analyses, Virginia, USA. He was the longest-serving Chief Scientist in US Air Force history and is also Immediate Past President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the foremost technical society of aerospace engineers.

His visit to the University will see him deliver the second James Weir Lecture, part of a series of lectures on engineering and technology that aim to inform, educate and challenge current thinking.

Professor Richard Brown, Director of cFASTT said: "Hypersonic technology is on the cusp of revolutionising the way we travel around the world. Although there are still major challenges in materials science, propulsion and aerodynamics that need to be resolved, tantalizing progress has been made.

"The ten seconds of flight of the X-43 unmanned hypersonic aircraft may seem short compared to the sustained performance that one day will be required to wing us in comfort to Tokyo in two hours, but it is an auspicious start. We do need to remember that the first flight by the Wright brothers was shorter than the wingspan of the jumbo jets that now routinely carry us from one corner of the globe to the other.

"Here at Strathclyde we are contributing to the work of the international community that is grappling with the huge scientific and technological challenges that Dr Lewis has described. The promise is that future hypersonic vehicles will help create a world where Sydney or Cape Town or Beijing are only as far away as London is by domestic flight today."

Dr Lewis obtained his professional degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics and Bachelor of Science degree in earth and planetary science (1984), Master of Science (1985) and Doctor of Science (1988) in aeronautics and astronautics.

Dr Lewis is the author of more than 280 technical publications, and has been adviser to more than 60 graduate students. He is active in national and international professional societies and has served on various advisory boards for NASA and the US Air Force.

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