Recovery Method for Unmanned Hypersonic Test Vehicles
Award last edited on: 7/6/2023

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Randall Voland

Company Information

ACENT Laboratories LLC

80 Orville Drive Suite 100
Bohemia, NY 11716
   (631) 801-2616
Location: Multiple
Congr. District: 02
County: Suffolk

Phase I

Contract Number: FA9302-16-M-0001
Start Date: 1/13/2016    Completed: 10/13/2016
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
ACENT Laboratories LLC has a strong history in the area of hypersonic flight testing and understands that recovery of flight test vehicles and/or physical data memory for post-test inspection and analysis, are increasingly important for future hypersonic technology and vehicle development efforts.ACENT will build on our flight test legacy and synergistic work ongoing in a Phase II Air Force SBIR on Low Cost Hypersonic Flight Test Technology to develop innovative approaches for several categories of new and/or modified vehicle, experiment, and component/data recovery systems for hypersonic flight vehicles. Develop a concept of operations and the mission requirements for each recovery category. Identify candidate recovery concepts and perform an analysis of alternatives for each recovery category. Size at least one concept in each category to develop an understanding of how the system would integrate with a candidate vehicle in each recovery category. Develop a program plan for Phase II and beyond including analysis and testing to mature technology, validate models, reduce risk, and demonstrate capability.

Hypersonic weapon systems will open the door to many new capabilities for the warfighter.Applications include systems ranging from small tactical hypersonic missiles and larger high speed strike weapons to responsive space access systems and penetrating hypersonic intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. Due to limitations in replicating hypersonic test conditions on the ground, wind tunnel data are augmented with flight tests to calibrate current computer models and provide data for developing improved physics based models used in hypersonic system design. While significant advances have been made in the last decade under Air Force and complementary DARPA, ONR and NASA efforts, a full spectrum of research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) activities is still required in a number of hypersonic disciplines to provide the full promise of these advanced capabilities.In most previous hypersonic flight programs, the flight test article was designed to be recovered after the flight test - only telemetry data was obtained - thus post flight inspections were not performed.If recovery had occurred, it could have provided valuable insights about the airframe and engine material/structural systems performance, scramjet engine operation, subsystem condition, and instrumentation requirements/optimal locations, as well as potentially providing advanced warning of potential system failures on subsequent flights.New methods to enable reliable and cost effective recovery and even reuse of hypersonic flight test articles would reduce risk, improve execution efficiency, and enhance vehicle design evolution. These recovery technologies would directly support DoD hypersonic technology maturation and demonstration, as well as T&E of weapon systems, and space vehicles by improved validation and verification of the system under test.

Phase II

Contract Number: FA9101-18-C-0015
Start Date: 12/14/2017    Completed: 3/14/2020
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
ACENT Laboratories LLC has a strong history in the area of hypersonic flight testing and understands that recovery of entire flight test vehicles and/or components for post-test inspection and analysis are increasingly important for future hypersonic technology and vehicle development efforts. Under this Phase I SBIR effort ACENT has built on our flight test legacy to develop several innovative approaches for recovery of hypersonic flight vehicles, their critical components, and/or physical data. These include an innovative mid-air recovery method for hypersonic vehicles, as well as several methods to actively or passively decelerate and recover critical components or physical data from unmanned hypersonic vehicles that remove hypersonic aerothermal loading within seconds and quickly decelerate to low terminal velocities.