August 16, 2011 By Jessica Mulholland
Last week, a test flight of DARPA’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) -- an experimental aircraft that travels at 20 times the speed of sound -- ended early. The unmanned aircraft, depictions of which are shown above and below, failed and stopped sending back real-time data to engineers and scientists monitoring the mission.
HTV-2 is a multiyear research and development effort to increase the technical knowledge base and advance critical technologies to make long-duration hypersonic flight a reality; it was meant to test new technologies that the Pentagon could use to deliver non-nuclear military strikes anywhere on the globe in less than an hour.
Though it was the second and technically the last scheduled flight for the Falcon program, some still think this flight failure won’t stop the “mad scientists” at DARPA from continuing to pursue hypersonic flight.
Photos courtesy of DARPA
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