Heather Kline


Ph.D. Candidate, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, 2013-Present.
M.S., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, 2013.
B.S., Dual Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2011.

Research Interests

Hypersonic airbreathing vehicles will make access to space more economical through decreasing the oxidizer which needs to be carried in the overall launch system and facilitation airline-like operations. My research is in the robust optimization of hypersonic vehicles for access to space. The objective of this research is to develop and improve on methods of robust simulation-based design for hypersonic vehicles incorporating uncertainties, multiphysics simulation, and multidisciplinary design objectives. I am using inlet-forebody mold lines of a hypersonic airbreathing launch vehicle as the design problem. Robust optimization requires that a design not only meet constraints and maximize performance, but also that the design operates well at off-design conditions. This is especially relevant to scramjets for access to space as the vehicles encouter an extremely wide range of conditions while accelerating and as some scramjets designs are extremely sensitive to small geometry changes.

My research interests include:

  • Robust optimization and design under uncertainty.
  • Shape deformations of slender hypersonic vehicles.

Recent Work

Ongoing work includes the implementation of boundary conditions for the adjoint of mass flow rate an an outlet, as well as other objective functions. I am also working on interpolation between dissimilar structural and fluid meshes to facilitate coupled aerostructural simulation. These tools will facilitate efficient multidisciplinary optimization of hypersonic engine inlets.


Kline, H.L., Palacios, F., Alonso, J.J., "Sensitivity of the Performance of a 3-Dimensional Hypersonic Inlet to Shape Deformations," 19th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, AIAA Paper 2014-3228, Atlanta, GA, June 2014.