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September 2010 - Erica Corral's academic rise may seem as hypersonic as the
spacecraft she researches, but she's actually on a carefully plotted trajectory
that began in elementary school in El Paso.
Corral, 33, is just five years out of graduate school and she heads a lab where six students and researchers are developing materials to allow hypersonic spacecraft to survive Mach 20 speed and space vehicles to re-enter Earth's atmosphere without burning off their protective shields.
"It's not easy," said Corral, an assistant professor in the University of Arizona's department of materials science and engineering. "That's kind of why it's so interesting."
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