Second US hypersonic aircraft test ends in a splash
The second test flight of a US hypersonic aircraft has not gone the way the US defense agency had hoped, as it has crashed into the sea. The Falcon HTV-2 is very different to any other aircraft that is currently in operation, as it will be able to travel to any destination around the world in an hour, this is because it has a top speed of 13,000 miles per hour.
Thankfully this was an unmanned flight, so there was no loss of life. The test was only nine minutes in when the US defense agency lost contact with the aircraft. There are three stages for the Falcon HTV-2, the first is being launched and the second is entering orbit and the third is re-entering the earth’s atmosphere at speeds of Mach 20, it was just after this stage that contact was lost.
FT.com has been talking to Chris Schulz of Darpa, who said that they have been able to master the first two stages, but it is the third stage where they seem to be having an issue. They seem unable to control the aircraft during these fast speeds, but they know that they will solve it; all they need is a little patience.
Once they have collected all the date from the test flight, they can then go away and analyze what went wrong, only then will they be able to understand what they need to do to rectify the problem. Darpa should not feel that they have let anyone down, as traveling in the atmosphere at these speeds has never been done before, so there will be a few issues along the way – you only have to look at the early space flight program to know just what we mean.
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