Hypervelocity Facility for Impact Research Experiments (HyFIRE)

The HEMI Hypervelocity Facility for Impact Research Experiments (HyFIRE) contains a 2 stage light gas gun that is capable of launching impactors at velocities up to 7 km/s. 



Impact velocities of 1 – 7 km/s
High-speed optical visualization  in stereo (10 Mfps)
Digital Image Correlation, Digital Gradient Sensing, Photon Doppler Velocimetry
Orthogonal flash X-ray imaging
High-speed spectroscopy
Missile defense
Space systems
Planetary science
Terminal ballistics


Video: Yunho Kim, JHU
High Speed Imaging

Impact visualization, digital gradient sensing (DGS), and 3D digital image correlation (DIC)


Impact flash diagnostic

Image:  Brett Kuwik and Ryan Hurley, JHUImage: Chris DiMarco and Jake Diamond, JHU
Flash X-Ray


Photon Doppler Velocimetry

Back surface velocity measurement

Laser Shock Facility

Launcher Details & Specifications

Additional Features & Diagnostics

Primary Breech Gas / Max PressureHelium or Nitrogen / 10,000 psi (690 Bar)
Pump Tube GasHelium, Hydrogen, Nitrogen
Launch Tubes7.62 mm rifled
7.62 mm smooth bore
12.7 mm smooth bore
19.05 mm smooth bore
Common Sabots2 or 4 piece sabots made from high strength nylon or PEEK
Common Projectiles1-5 mm spheres made from aluminum, steel and tungsten carbide
Velocity range1.0 – 7 km/s (Mach 3 – Mach 20)
4 channel PDV for velocimetry and near muzzle experiments
Digital Gradient Sensing (DGS) and 3D Digital Image Correlation (DIC) for surface deformation measurements
Various view ports along the range for projectile and sabot imaging
Variable atmosphere with air or inert gas backfilling
Terminal chamber vacuum down to 5 Torr
Near muzzle chamber vacuum < 1 Torr
Amotronics timing system for velocity measurement, impact time calculation and diagnostic sequencing

Mechanical Elements of HyFIRE


For additional information regarding this facility, contact:


Matthew Shaeffer
Senior Staff Engineer

Justin Moreno
Associate Staff Engineer


The HyFIRE facility is located in Malone Hall on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus.

Faculty PI

Prof. K.T. Ramesh
[email protected]

Oversight Committee

Prof. Mark Foster (Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Prof. Todd Hufnagel (Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering)

Prof. Ryan Hurley (Dept. of Mechanical Engineering)

Prof. K.T. Ramesh Dept. of Mechanical Engineering)

Matt Shaeffer (HEMI)