Monday, December 1st, 2014 - Rocket Aerodynamicist Dr. Leon Vanstone discusses spacecraft hot spots and scramjet technology


On this episode of “They Blinded Me with Science”, we’re joined by Dr. Leon Vanstone, who is a rocket scientist (in particular, a “rocket aerodynamicist”) in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT-Austin. Travelling at high speeds through the atmosphere generates a lot of heat due to friction from the air, and the shock wave boundary layer interaction results in hot spots on spacecraft. Leon’s research focuses on the physics of airflow over rockets and re-entry crafts and how to prevent them from melting. Leon also discusses why rockets are inefficient for traveling to space and how ideally a “space plane” with a special type of (non-existent) engine called a scramjet would be used.