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University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics Seminar Series: The D-21: An Insight into Systems Integration

March 28, 2023 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm CDT


The D-21 was among the most ambitious projects undertaken by the Lockheed Skunk Works ™ under the legendary designer, Kelly Johnson.  Though less famous than the U-2 and SR-71, the D-21 was no less ambitious. Cruising at M=3.0 plus at unheard of altitudes with immense range, the D-21 was a robotic spy plane conceived of during the height of the cold war. Stretching the technology of the time, the D-21 proved to be a bridge too far.  While hitting its speed, altitude, and range performance numbers, it was the challenge of developing the complex subsystems and intricate flight profile that led to a difficult development program and poor operational record.  Using recently de-classified materials, the root causes of these failures are discussed and used to illuminate the challenges facing modern researchers in developing technologies and concepts for hypersonic applications.   

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Mr. Kurt Chankaya
Lockheed Martin

Kurt Chankaya has over 35 years’ experience in the US Aerospace industry,  working programs such as the F-16, the National Aerospace Plane (X-30), the Japanese F-2, and the F-35 at Lockheed Martin.  He is the Lockheed Martin Fellow for Weapon Integration, where he leads various projects and applied research into weapon integration in the Advanced Development Programs (aka The Skunk Works ™).  He has been awarded six patents, and has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University, and a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University. 


March 28, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm CDT
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