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A test flight of an experimental aircraft capable of speeding through air at 20 times the speed of sound ended prematurely Thursday morning when the arrowhead-shaped plane failed and stopped sending back real-time data to engineers and scientists who were moderating the mission.
In the test flight, the aircraft, known as the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, was launched at 7:45 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base, located northwest of Santa Barbara, into the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket, made by Orbital Sciences Corp.
But about 20 minutes into the mission, the Pentagon’s research arm, known as Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, announced on its Twitter account that: “Range assets have lost telemetry.”
"The aircraft transitioned to Mach 20 aerodynamic flight," it said. "This transition represents a critical knowledge and control point in maneuvering atmospheric hypersonic flight. More than nine minutes of data was collected before an anomaly caused loss of signal.
Aug. 11, 2011 -- UPDATE: DARPA has lost contact with its experimental hypersonic glider -- and possibly lost the vehicle itself -- following the latest test flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the Central Coast of Calif. Tuesday morning.
Originally posted by Pervius
Imagine if they used that hypersonic craft to fly 20 times the speed of sound towards China.....then exploded and released billions of tiny radioactive nano-razors which would still be traveling at 20 times the speed of sound for Shanghai.
Even if it "fails"....maybe it was successful. Who knows. Would you even notice if Billions of nano-razors were thrown at a country at Warp 10?