Professor Michael Smart

Award-winning space craft designer and scramjet engineer

As a young boy, Professor Michael Smart dreamed of travelling to space. But when he grew up, he discovered a talent for designing the craft to go to space rather than going there himself. Michael then spent 10 years at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia designing hypersonic engines called scramjets before he returned home to Australia in 2005 to fly locally designed ones.

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) at UQ in 1985 and Master of Engineering Science at UQ in 1987, Michael was awarded a PhD at the Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, New York in 1995.

Today, as head of UQ’s HyShot Group, Michael leads scramjet related research within the Centre for Hypersonics, with particular emphasis on flight applications. In 2012, he received the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS) von Karman Award for International Cooperation in Aeronautics.

To Michael, having an adventurous mind means “treading a new path and following your nose”.

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