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Falcom HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2) is a DARPA’s project being developed over for about a decade that aims at using the critical technologies to make the hypersonic flight a reality, where the ultimate goal has been the ability to maneuver anywhere in the world and eliminate enemies in less than an hour!  DARPA plans to validate their current assumptions about long duration HTV flight for which more than 20 test assets will collect continuous flight data.

To put it simply, Falcon HTV-2 is an unmanned, wedge-shaped, rocket-launched aircraft that can glide through the atmosphere at the speed of approximately 13,000 miles per hour also known as ‘Mach 20′.

In the ultimate test that is going to happen today, the Minotaur IV Lite Rocket will be triggered from Vandenberg Air Force Base Station at approx. 7 a.m. PDT. This rocket will release the Falcon HTV-2such that it will come back to Earth & splash down near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

Apparently, this is Falcon HTV-2′s second flight. It had it’s first flight on 22 Apr 2010. Engineers at DARPA have discovered that HTV-2 had a problem stabilizing itself in flight. When it tried to correct its yaw, it went into a roll. The lessons learned from the first flight, testing of the high-speed wind tunnel and different computer simulations are used to improve aerodynamic models and to optimize the vehicle design and trajectory for this flight.

DARPA’s Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic aircraft launches today, does New York to LA in 12 minutes (update: lost in flight)

Update: Sadly, while the Minotaur IV rocket launch and separation were successful, the Falcon HTV-2 itself was lost nine minutes into its flight this morning just as its predecessor was. DARPA did manage to collect data up until the crash (somewhere in the Pacific Ocean), however, and says that it plans to review it over the coming weeks. Third time’s the charm, maybe?

One Response

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