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The Minotaur rocket launched and neared orbit, it successfully inserted the HTV-2 into the desired trajectory. Separation of the vehicle was confirmed by rocket cam and the aircraft transitioned to Mach 20 aerodynamic flight, according to a spokesperson for DARPA.
The hypersonic vehicle was expected to fly at a speed of Mach 20, approximately 13,000 miles per hour (21,000 kilometers per hour), while experiencing temperatures in excess of 3,500 F (1927 C). However, the flight ended prem
The administration requested $204.8 million for the effort in the upcoming budget year, and the Falcon is just one of an array of technologies in the works to accomplish the concept. But like the Falcon, none of the other projects has achieved much success.
But what I find the most disturbing about this is the reasons for why they want to make it:
But the Falcon's test flight ended prematurely and it plunged into the Pacific Ocean. It was the second and last scheduled flight for the Falcon program, which began in 2003 and cost taxpayers about $320 million. Both flights failed to go the distance.
Despite the failures, the Pentagon believes that hypersonic vehicles are the best hope for replacing nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles as a way to hit a target in an hour or less — without launching World War III.
"The whole idea is that the military has time-sensitive information and needs to deliver a strike immediately," said Brian Weeden, a former Air Force officer and expert in space security. "The only vehicle that the military currently has in its inventory with that kind of capability is" an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Other methods of hitting a distant target, cruise missiles and long-range bomber planes, take hours to reach their destination.
When pressed for an example, military officials point to an instance in 1998 when the U.S. military tried — and failed — to kill Osama bin Laden. Navy vessels in the Arabian Sea lobbed cruise missiles at training camps in Afghanistan, hitting their targets — 80 minutes later. By then, bin Laden was gone.
"All of this money is being spent to kill someone very quickly," he said. "All that seems to have come out of it is that the technology is costly and difficult to achieve."