DARPA hypersonic test vehicle does not “achieve all objectives”

August 12, 2011

Yesterday DARPA launched the second hypersonic test vehicle atop a Minotaur IV rocket. It was a high-speed suborbital test of maneuverability of the Mach 20 unmanned test vehicle. For 2700 seconds telemetry was successfully received; then contact with the vehicle was lost. It is assumed that automatic systems aboard the vehicle crashed it in to the Pacific once it lost contact with the ground. The Fox News article is here.

The research project was begun in 2003 and has cost $ 320 million. Only two test articles were built. The first test ended in a crash as well, back in April 2010. Apparently there are still problems with “control in the hypersonic regime.” There are no plans for more vehicles.

Apparently hypersonic flight is going to be a lot more difficult to achieve than we had hoped.

Fox News article | DARPA program page


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