posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 05:31 AM
reply to post by ThePublicEnemyNo1
You're original DARPA link pretty much spells out the Falcon hypersonic intentions, to collect hypersonic data in an approximately 9-minute reentry
flight before plunging into the sea.
Data from the program informs policy, acquisition, and operations decisions for future Department of Defense Conventional Prompt Global Strike
programs. Hypersonic data is collected through extensive modeling and simulation, wind-tunnel testing and two experimental flight tests. The
ultimate goal is a capability that can reach anywhere in the world in less than an hour.
The Falcon HTV is unpowered unmanned lifting body but uses aerodynamic controls to measure lift characteristics of turbulence and stability. I'm
afraid there is no black tech involved here. Previous NASA X-plane prototypes garnering the idea of hypersonic manned atmospheric reentry travel
designs just failed to meet expectations, like the old X-30 that was highly touted to be the future of world accessibility in 2 hours, or the released
idea of New York to Tokyo in 2 hours passenger craft. I believe the X-30 was to use rocket assist to achieve suborbital altitude for fast transit and
a bank of scramjets for thin atmospheric power much like the SR-71 Blackbird ramjets, but cruise at MACH 20. It was developed around the time the
Blackbird's retirement hoped to also be not only its successor, but also have LEO capabilities as NASA foresaw the ending of the Space Shuttle
eventuality. Though it failed to promise the desired intentions that MACH 20 suborbital flight was achievable, you can see the X-series development
specifications metamorphosing into more realistic designs, like the miniature NASA X-43, (a personal favorite design if scaled up), and possibly the
X-37b, which is also a stage in development for a more economical Space Shuttle replacement as they still desire manned LEO trips after all. But I
don't think they are going to scale up the X-37 series for manned flight as I see miniaturization is the trend of runway landing spacecraft, and
parachute assist soft landing capsules for manned landings, again, no real sci fi tech being demonstrated other than a miniaturization initiative.
I believe it was a Space Aeronautics show around 1991 or so I was preparing display graphics featuring the X-30 as where I work is also a NASA
subcontractor, but the X-30 faded in the design stage and never flew. I'm not sure if it was stability, or thrust requirements, that doomed it, or
just didn't seem to promise the type of manned flight the program intended as it would have to have been scaled up, and scaling up most of the time
thwarts the original designs. Ultimately it didn't demonstrate the kind of economy benefits and budget cuts is said to have killed it.