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calendar   Thursday - April 29, 2010

Gosh, it was right here just 9 minutes ago

Air Force Loses Rocket Glider During Test Flight



Have You Seen Me?

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Please call 1-800-HTV-LOST if you have



Lockheed Martin and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are investigating why contact with the first HTV-2 test vehicle was lost soon after launch on a mission to demonstrate technology for high-performance, long-endurance hypersonic flight.

The third stage of the Orbital Sciences Minotaur IV Lite booster successfully completed energy-management maneuvers, released its clamshell payload fairing and deployed the HTV-2 at the edge of the atmosphere, but telemetry signals from the hypersonic glider were lost about 9 minutes into the mission, DARPA says.

Launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. on April 22, the unmanned HTV-2 was planned to cross the Pacific and impact the ocean north of Kwajalein Atoll in the first of two flights to demonstrate technology for a prompt global strike weapon capable of flying 9,000nm in less than 2 hours.

The HTV-2 is a slender, highly-swept, sharp-edged delta with “unprecedented” aerodynamic efficiency for a hypersonic vehicle, said Erbland. The vehicle is designed to fly at a low angle of attack relative to other hypersonic vehicles.

Autonomous guidance, navigation and control was designed to enable the HTV-2 to manage its energy and fly a precise flight path to a “very accurate” terminal location, said Erbland. After release, the vehicle was planned to navigate via a series of waypoints, managing its trajectory “to arrive with sufficient energy to get to the next one, plus a little extra in case the drag is higher than predicted.”

The test flight called for a 30-minute mission in which the vehicle would glide at high speed before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, north of a US military test site at the Kwajalein Atoll.

The glider separated from the booster but soon after the signal vanished, a spokeswoman said.

“Preliminary review of data indicates the HTV-2 achieved controlled flight within the atmosphere at over Mach 20. Then contact with HTV-2 was lost,” Johanna Spangenberg Jones, a spokeswoman for DARPA, told AFP.

The Kwajalein Atoll is in the Marshall Islands, roughly 1500 miles northeast of Papua New Guinea and 2300 miles west southwest of Hawaii. Call it next door to Bikini Atoll. Between 4100 and 4800 miles from Vandenburg AFB depending on their impact target. Not bad for a 30 minute trip; 8200 miles per hour or better. Waaay faster than 9000nm in <2 hrs as the DARPA press release states. Twice as fast.

No reward has yet been offered for the carbon fiber little wonderplane, although I hear the government has a rush order on printing milk cartons for the South Pacific.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/29/2010 at 06:51 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesMilitaryplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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