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The University of Southampton

Professor Antony J Musker BSc(Hons), MA, PhD, FRINA, CEng, CertEd

Visiting Professor

Professor Antony J Musker's photo

Professor Antony Musker is a Visiting Professor within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Professor Musker (known professionally as Tony) studied under Professor Harry Preston at the University of Liverpool, where he gained his PhD in fluid dynamics.  He subsequently received a two-year post-doctoral Science Research Council Fellowship.  This was spent refining a technique for modelling a turbulent shear flow in the presence of surface roughness and included sophisticated trials on a warship.  On invitation, he then joined the Ministry of Defence and rose quickly to the positions of Individual Merit Senior Principal Scientific Officer, Head of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Head of Theoretical Hydrodynamics at the then Admiralty Research Establishment (now QinetiQ).

During his government service he pioneered many new methodologies in the areas of computation and experimentation. These included developing a comprehensive six-degree-of-freedom simulation of a submerged submarine under the influence of random surface waves, taking into account the effect of second-order drift forces; developing novel hydro-acoustical measuring techniques; developing the first non-linear panel method for predicting ship wave resistance; developing new towing-tank techniques for validating theoretical models; introducing active flow-control to reduce ship resistance, and conducting new full-scale sea-trials involving nuclear submarines and warships. His work in non-linear wave modelling represented a significant improvement over existing classical solutions of the Neumann-Kelvin problem.

He was a keen practitioner in the early days of 'pipe-lined' vector processing and worked closely with the Numerical Analysis Group at Oxford University in the early 1980s to develop new numerical algorithms for super-computing.  He established close links too with the Mathematical Institute at Oxford, where he commissioned early validation studies into matched asymptotic expansions to verify complex potential flow numerical solutions.  Tony also forged close links with many other universities and research institutes at home and abroad.  In the 1980s he was appointed Chairman of the prestigious Resistance and Flow Committee of the International Towing Tank Conference.  He went on to establish the first naval computational fluid dynamics laboratory for HM Government in 1989.  He represented the UK at NATO HQ in matters relating to sea-keeping of warships and participated in numerous Anglo-American and Anglo-French inter-governmental research projects.

Tony holds several patents and is well-known on the conference circuit.  He is the author of more than one hundred research papers and HMSO reports and has received citations from both the US and UK Governments for his work in naval science.  He is a former holder of the N.E.

Rowe Medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society for his work in astrodynamics, and is the author of 'Musker's Formula', which models near-wall eddy viscosity in a turbulent boundary layer.  This formula was used to re-design the space shuttle's booster seals following the Challenger disaster in 1986 and is still frequently referenced in the literature. He is also the inventor of the ‘raised panel method’ for modelling hydrodynamic gravity waves using Rankine source density distributions.

Tony left Government Service in 1994 and became a freelance consultant and a Trusted Expert to QinetiQ plc.  He became a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Southampton University in 1998, initially with Ship Science.  He set up his own company, DELTACAT Limited, in 2003.  DELTACAT focuses on naval science and the development of demonstration-scale 'green' rocket thrusters for orbital manoeuvring and spacecraft attitude control.  He has undertaken many space-propulsion studies for the US Air Force, the European Office for Aerospace Research and Development, the European Space Agency and Airbus (UK and France). He played a key role in the GRASP Consortium, which was funded by the EU. GRASP concerned the search for non-carcinogenic propellants for future space propulsion. He also designed the catalytic injectors used by ONERA and Airbus (Toulouse) for the EU-funded hybrid end-burning rocket engine (HYPROGEO). This work was recognised by the award of the Lauréat du Trophée Étoiles de l'Europe 2018 by the French Government. Tony is an occasional peer reviewer for several journals and was recently appointed to the College of Assessors for the New Zealand Government.

Over the past two decades Tony has worked tirelessly with many final year MEng students, providing them with an opportunity, unique in the UK, to become immersed in the challenges of designing, fabricating and live-testing liquid propellant rocket thrusters.  Tony established the Lunar Hopper Project within the Faculty. This has allowed students to become engaged with the problems of designing, building, and testing a vehicle that could lift-off, hover, translate and soft-land under autonomous control. More recently, he established the Sirius Project, which aims to teach students how to design, build and test various components of a three-stage satellite launcher. The present focus is on the 3000 Newton Sirius third stage bi-propellant engine, which is 3D-printed and regeneratively cooled. Many of his former students are now employed in the space propulsion business at home and abroad.

Research interests

  • Low-toxicity (green) space propulsion
  • Turbulent shear flows with roughness
  • Ship wave resistance
  • Submarine manoeuvring
  • Low-cost satellite/spacecraft launchers

Research group

Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanic (AFM)

Affiliate research group


Supervision of final-year MEng Projects

Professor Antony J Musker
Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus
University of Southampton
Building 176
Burgess Road
SO16 7QF
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