There’s a new arms race brewing, and this one is destined to be very, very fast. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is calling for the development of a hypersonic long-range bomber to ensure Russia is not “falling behind the Americans.” He doesn’t want some subsonic or even supersonic analog to the American B-2, he says. Russia’s next bomber--slated for delivery by decade’s end--will move faster than Mach 5.
After roughly eight months of crunching the data, DARPA has released its official report on exactly what happened to its Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), the Mach 20 test vehicle it launched into the atmosphere last summer only to lose contact with it nine minutes later. The conclusion: HTV-2 was moving so blisteringly fast that it tore right out of its own skin.
PopSci’s favorite DARPA head turned Google exec has done her turn at TED, and the video has just hit the wires. Titled “From Mach-20 Glider to Hummingbird Drone,” Dugan’s theme of discouraging the fear of failure is a retrospective on DARPA’s technological milestones and how the nerds at DARPA reached them by believing in impossible things.
Back on August 11th DARPA launched, then lost, its Falcon hypersonic vehicle, also known as HTV-2. Today we found it. Not the actual glider, but a video of it streaking through the sky over the Pacific Ocean as captured by a crew member aboard a tracking ship. And as you can see in this video, it is indeed moving fast.
Last week, DARPA’s HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2) Falcon vehicle launched to near-orbital speeds aboard a Minotaur rocket before beginning what was designed to be a Mach 20 glide back to earth, demonstrating the kind of hypersonic capability needed to deliver a payload anywhere in the world in an hour. Then, a few minutes into its flight, HTV-2’s data transmitters went silent and so did the DARPA news stream feeding us the play-by-play.
Update: DARPA has gone silent regarding HTV-2, but its safe to assume at this point that contact with the hypersonic Falcon vehicle was lost before it fulfilled all of its mission objectives. No word yet on just how much data was collected or how many objectives were completed. More as this develops.
The military’s new wingless plane is set to make its first hypersonic test flight Tuesday, after it is released from a B-52 bomber off the California coast.
The X-51A WaveRider, which sort of resembles a shark, will fly for about five minutes, powered by a scramjet engine. It should reach about Mach 6 and transmit data to ground stations before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, according to the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.