The Hypersonic Mach 20

by Dan Rather on August 3, 2011

The Hypersonic Mach 20

The Hypersonic Mach 20

The world of technology is quickly growing with speed and performance being sought to further turn the world into a much smaller village. There has been attempts by scientists may it be in terms of planes, cars or even ships. Recently an attempt to further increase on speed in travel from one place to another came to a complete stand still when the plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. The plane which was unmanned travelled at 20 times the speed of sound and managed to control itself for three minutes before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. If you don’t understand how fast sound is then you don’t know how fast this is. Just picture this, an average Boeing 787’s speed being multiplied twenty times. This is quite the killer speed.

Reports say that the prototype Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2(HTV-2), billed as the fastest aircraft ever built, splashed down in the pacific earlier than planned on August 11 shortly after launching from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on its second ever test flight. The HTV-2 experienced some sort of anomaly, prompting the vehicle’s autonomous flight safety system to guide it to a controlled splashdown.

Despite the problem, the aircraft reached speeds around Mach 20(this is about 13000 mph) and was able to control its flight for several minutes, officials said. “HTV-2 demonstrated stable, aerodynamically controlled Mach 20 hypersonic flight for approximately three minutes,” said DARPA director Regina Dugan in an August 14th statement.

The HTV -2 is part of an advanced weapons called conventional prompt global strike, which is working to develop systems to reach an enemy target anywhere in the world within one hour. It launches on a rocket then comes streaking back to Earth at enormous speeds, at times heating up to temperature of nearly 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The first test of the HTV-2 took place in April 2010. That flight lasted about nine minutes, also ending when the aircraft detected an anomaly and crashed itself into the ocean. An analysis conducted by an independent engineering review board prompted engineers to adjust the HTV-2’s center of gravity and make several other changes before the second test. Those fixes according to sources corrected the first problem. Air force major Chris Schulz, DAPRA HTV -2 program’s manager said that an Initial assessment indicates that the flight 2 anomaly is unrelated to the flight 1 anomaly.

With these developments it is a certain fact that tomorrow is already here with us. I’m sure that with the technology being put in place, there must be more that we do not know of. This may be in terms of weapons or further developments in secret missions.

The next decade for sure will hold key developments in the lives of the human population. It seems to me that yet again we can do anything we want if only we put our heads together. In all honesty the developments in the coming ten years promise to be mind boggling and amazing. I just can’t wait.

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