Hypersonic flight has gained significant interest in recent years for both military and civil applications in the aeronautics and in space sectors.

The physics of hypersonic flow, however, is very different from that or supersonic flow and requires deep understanding of molecular gas dynamics and quantum physics to properly describe how gases behave at extreme Mach numbers and temperatures. The need for rapid response and real time information gathering, as well as the usual military strike requirements mean that flight at hypersonic speeds is becoming more attractive, but the flow physics associated with these conditions is very challenging in terms of theoretical modelling and prediction. This course aims to provide a comprehensive overview of these physics, the approximate methods used for hypersonic aerodynamic predictions as well as the standard higher order methods used to predict hypersonic flows.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 13 - 17 Jan 2025
  • Duration1 week
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£1,950. The course fee includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Accommodation is not included and must be booked separately. Concessions available

Course structure

This five day course is presented through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and discussion of case studies.

All delegates will receive a Certificate of Attendance upon completion of this course.

What you will learn

The course will build up the delegates’ understanding and knowledge of hypersonic flows, both in terms of theoretical physics aspects as well as the prediction methods available for design and analysis. More specifically, on completion of the course delegates will be able to:

  • Understand the complex physics of hypersonic flow, the importance of Mach number, temperature and density, and how this drastically differs from non-hypersonic flows. 
  • Assess whether a particular application involves aspects of hypersonic flow. 
  • Understand the design challenges for hypersonic flight, especially the thermal and loading constraints to hypersonic flight trajectories. 
  • Understand and predict the effects of hypersonic boundary layers and associated frictional heating, as well as the physics of interactional effects on realistic configurations that can limit severely vehicle performance.
  • Understand the physics of how energy is stored within gases, and the importance of quantum physics effects. 
  • Appreciate the role of radiation in hypersonic heating problems. 
  • Appreciate the methods of non-continuum molecular dynamics as well as the revisions needed to continuum CFD models to account for real gas effects.

Core content

  • Hypersonic Flight – An Introduction 
  • Characteristics of the Hypersonic Flight Corridor 
  • Equations of Motion for Planetary Entry 
  • Characteristics of Continuum Hypersonic Flow 
  • Hypersonic Boundary Layers and Heat Transfer 
  • Shock-Wave Boundary Layer and Shock-Shock Interactions. 
  • Real Gas Effects 
  • Radiation 
  • Computational Methods for Hypersonic Flows

Who should attend

The course is of benefit to engineers involved in design and testing of high speed flight in the aeronautical industry, or those with involvement in the design and testing of launch vehicles and planetary entry systems in the space industry. An existing knowledge of basic compressible flow theory is a desirable prerequisite.


The MSc programme, to which this course is a component, is accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society.


The course is authored and delivered by Professor Simon Prince, of the Centre for Aeronautics, who has worked in high speed experimental and computational aerodynamics for almost 30 years. He worked in the High Speed Laboratory in the Defence Research Agency in Bedford, at the Aerospace Technology Institute as lead for Aerodynamics, and as an academic at City University of London and now Cranfield University, where he leads the Applied Aerodynamics Group and the hypersonic aerodynamics activity at Cranfield.


20% discount for Cranfield Alumni. 
10% discount when registering 3 or more delegates, from the same organisation at the same time.  

Accommodation fees are not included in the discount scheme. Please ask about our discount scheme at time of booking.

Accommodation options and prices

This course is non-residential. If accommodation is required, please make your own arrangements at Mitchell Hall or a nearby hotel. Please enquire about the short course delegate rate.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.