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Walt E. Williamson

Professor Direct: 817.257.6558
BS Stanford University Mechanical Engineering MS, Ph.D. UT Austin Aerospace Engineering


Dr. Williamson began his technical career teaching at the University of Texas from 1970-1974. During that time, he taught classes and worked on NASA funded research projects relating to flight dynamics. He moved to Sandia Labs in 1974. Initially he worked in a Reentry Vehicle Flight Dynamics Department where he conducted wind tunnel tests, and developed software relating to dynamic performance of reentry vehicles. He provided flight dynamics support for more than twenty reentry vehicle flight-tests. He moved to an Exploratory Aerospace Systems Department in 1980, to manage an internally funded aerospace exploratory development program. He was promoted to Department Manager in 1984. In this position, he worked with NASA, DARPA, the Air Force, the Navy, and the Army to develop high-speed flight test programs for the various agencies. Most of the programs resulted in the development of exploratory high-speed flight tests conducted by Sandia for the government agencies. He interacted with the government agencies to formulate the programs, oversaw the development of hardware and software, insured appropriate analysis and ground testing occurred, and was responsible for the high-speed flight tests of more than fifteen vehicles. During that time he was responsible for overseeing $5-15 M/year in funding for the development of exploratory aerospace systems.

In 1999, he moved to TCU and served as professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering until the fall of 2019. He managed the department, taught classes, performed research in a variety of areas, and served as a consultant to the Navy, the Army, and Sandia Labs. He has served several times on the AIAA Astrodynamics Technical Committee, served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, served as a technical reviewer for NASA on the X-33, X-38, and X-43 programs, and recently served six years as a member of NRAC (Navy Research Advisory Agency).

Research Interests

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Hypersonic vehicles
  • Guidance and Control