Video: HTV-2 in Mach-20 Flight, Just Minutes Before Autonomously Aborting its Mission

Back on August 11th DARPA launched, then lost, its Falcon hypersonic vehicle, also known as HTV-2. Today we found it. … Continued

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxgil43D81I

For those out of the loop on this, HTV-2 is an unmanned hypersonic glider meant to test the boundaries of hypersonic flight. HTV-2 was traveling at Mach 20–that’s 20 times the speed of sound–when an as-yet unexplained flight anomaly caused the vehicle’s automated systems to kick in and put the thing into a controlled dive into the Pacific. By the time that happened, three minutes into HTV-2’s independent flight, it was somewhere well on its way to Hawaii. It started at Vandenberg AFB in California.

In the video above, you can see a white contrail entering the left of the frame. That’s not just the HTV-2, but the third stage of the Minotaur 4 rocket that carried HTV-2 to the edge of space. From there, if you look very closely you can see HTV-2 separate from the rocket stage (it’s a really faint dot) and begin its aerodynamically stable hypersonic flight, in which it hits its objective speed of Mach 20.

Can’t see it? Try the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gTloAHlwOs

Saw it that time, didn’t you?