EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The U.S. Department of Defense increased its hypersonic research budget to $4.7 billion for 2023 and NMSU being the only college in the state of New Mexico that has a degree in aerospace engineering, its College of Engineering is in place to is in place to make an impact in scientific advancement and workforce development for this flourishing technological field.

Hypersonic refers to a category of high-speed aerodynamic vehicles that can travel for sustained periods of time at velocities greater than five times the speed of sound or Mach 5 (approximately 3,800 miles per hour). Commercial applications for air travel consider the Mach 5 range, while military applications need to push Mach 10 and beyond.

We now see new concepts, defined by mission scenarios for the Defense Department, such as hypersonic glide vehicles being developed. The Defense Department’s intent is to work quickly to outpace any perceived evolving threats. The Army, Navy and Air Force are working on various independent or jointly fielded operational hypersonic systems,”

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department Head Jay I. Frankel.

The growing of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department is expanding its experimental facilities to include a shock tunnel and high-powered laser; adding capabilities and expertise in computational fluid dynamics; guidance, navigation and control and materials.

In the upcoming five years, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories plan to hire thousands of engineers, which gives NMSU a unique position in terms of workforce development for the State of New Mexico and the Southwest.

“The demand for engineers in general continues, but the best companies are looking for well-prepared and enthusiastic students who have experience in up-to-date instrumentation, facilities and a willingness to contribute and grow in a rapid manner. Besides the Southwest, NMSU can and should impact the Midwest and Northeast where many aerospace companies reside,” said Frankel.  

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