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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Experimental Aircraft to Go From Zero to 13,000 in Hypersonic Test Launch

Awesome stuff, but I don't know if the Human body can take such speeds within Earths atmosphere...

The goal of the project is to eventually enable the U.S. military to strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour

Oh! That explains it.

An unmanned aircraft that can travel at the breakneck speed of 20 times the speed of sound will take off Wednesday from an Air Force base in California for a test flight.

The Falcon HTV-2 is an arrow-shaped aircraft that launches on a rocket, separates and then glides at hypersonic speeds of 13,000 mph through the Earth’s atmosphere. (To put it in perspective, it would take less than 12 minutes to fly from New York to Los Angeles.)

Wednesday’s launch marks the aircraft's second flight. In April 2010, the Falcon flew for nine minutes, including 130 seconds of Mach 22 to Mach 17 flight, according to DARPA, the military's research arm.

The goal of the second flight is to "validate our assumptions and gain further insight into extremely high Mach regimes that we cannot fully replicate on the ground," Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz said in a DARPA news release.

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