Professor Cesnik selected to participate in NASA’s University Leadership Initiative to advance hypersonic flight

U-M Aerospace congratulates Professor Cesnik on being selected to work for NASA’s University Leadership Initiative.

U-M Aerospace congratulates Professor Carlos Cesnik on being selected to work for NASA’s University Leadership Initiative to track changes about the aerodynamic loads of a vehicle to validate design simulations and be incorporated into guidance and control schemes.

Working with a team led by the University of Texas, Austin, and supported by Sandia National Laboratories, Lockheed Martin, the University of Texas, and San Antonio, Cesnik will explore the challenges of monitoring and gathering data on a vehicle during hypersonic flight.

Carlos Cesnik, Professor of Aerospace Engineering

It is difficult to record the vehicle’s aerodynamic loads in hypersonic flight because of the high heat levels and uncertain aerothermochemistry. To solve this problem, Professor Cesnik and his fellow team of researchers propose a new paradigm in aerodynamic load sensing known as Full Airframe Sensing Technology for Hypersonic Aerodynamics Measurements (FAST). This new technology will provide instantaneous information of the aerodynamic loads  and enables whole-surface measurements during flight and ground tests. FAST offers a great improvement over external surface sensors which are often limited in number and cannot survive the harsh hypersonic environment. If they succeed, the information they gather about the aerodynamic loads can be used to validate design predictions and be incorporated in guidance and control schemes, improving the flight control system.

The hypersonic environment is a challenging one from a measurement technology standpoint,” Cesnik said. “As a consequence, it remains a major challenge to obtain critical information about the aerodynamic state of the vehicle, but we believe FAST holds promise for providing critically-needed validation data of the distributed aerodynamic loads.”

Cesnik and his team at the University of Michigan will focus their computational studies on the  thermoelastic response of the vehicle subjected to applied aerodynamic, inertia, and thermal loads using a detailed finite element model for the elastic and thermal problems, and reduced-order models for the thermal and aerodynamic loads’ representation. Building around U-M’s High-Speed Vehicle (UM/HSV) simulation environment, they will explore different trajectories and obtain representative conditions for data collection. The result of those simulations will support the training of the scientific machine learning (SciML) algorithms responsible to recover the aerodynamic loads in flight and improve the flight control system. 

Carlos Cesnik is the Clarence L. (Kelly) Johnson Professor of Aerospace Engineering and the founding Director of the Active Aeroelasticity and Structures Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan. He currently directs the Airbus-Michigan Center for Aero-Servo-Elasticity of Very Flexible Aircraft (CASE-VFA). His research interests have focused on computational and experimental aeroelasticity of very flexible aircraft; coupled nonlinear aeroelasticity and flight dynamic response in high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) aircraft and advanced jet transport aircraft; aerothermoelastic modeling, analysis and simulation of hypersonic vehicles; active vibration and noise reductions in helicopters. His research also spans the field of structural health monitoring for damage detection in metallic and composite structures, and metamaterials: guided-wave modeling, transducer design, and signal processing.


Michigan Aerospace logo

Michigan Aerospace Engineering

Communications Team