Lockheed Falcon HTV-2 Test Flight

Update 2011-08-12: See also  Hypersonic Falcon Launched and Lost

Lockheed Falcon unmanned aircraft

Computer animation of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' hypersonic cruise vehicle for DARPA Falcon programme

DARPA Falcon Project

The DARPA Falcon Project (Force Application and Launch from Continental United States) is a two-part joint project between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the United States Air Force (USAF).

The program was to follow a set of flight tests with a series of hypersonic technology vehicles.[8]

The FALCON project includes:
  • X-41 Common Aero Vehicle (CAV) — a common aerial platform for hypersonic ICBMs and cruise missiles, as well as civilian RLVs and ELVs.
  • Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-1 (HTV-1) — a test concept, originally planned to fly in September 2007, now canceled.[9]
  • HTV-2 — first flew on 22 April 2010, but contact was lost soon afterwards[10][11]
  • HTV-3X — Blackswift, now canceled
  • Small Launch Vehicle (SLV) — a smaller engine to power CAVs, now complete
Illustration of HTV-2 reentry phase

DARPA Falcon hypersonic X-plane - part 1

DARPA Falcon hypersonic X-plane - part 2

Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 (HTV-2)

The Falcon program objectives are to develop and demonstrate hypersonic technologies that will enable prompt global reach missions. The technologies include high lift-to-drag techniques, high temperature materials, precision navigation, guidance, and control, communications through plasma, and an autonomous flight safety system. Leveraging technology developed under the Hypersonic Flight (HyFly) program, Falcon will address the implications of hypersonic flight and reusability using a series of hypersonic technology vehicles (HTVs) to incrementally demonstrate these required technologies in flight. The HTV-2 program will demonstrate enabling hypersonic technologies for future operational systems through rocket-boosted hypersonic flights with sufficient cross-range and down-range performance to evaluate thermal protection systems, aerodynamic shapes, maneuverability, and long-range communication for hypersonic cruise and re-entry vehicle applications.

Pentagon’s Mach 20 Glider Disappears, Whacking ‘Global Strike’ Plans

The Pentagon’s controversial plan to hit terrorists half a planet away suffered a setback this weekend, after an experimental hypersonic glider disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.

Update Aug 12 2001: See also

FOX News.com

Military's Hypersonic Falcon Missile Test a Dud?

The test vehicle launched last week reached Mach 5 on launch, and was designed to crash and sink into the sea and sink near Kwajalein Atoll, 2,000 miles south-west of Hawaii, 30 minutes later and 4,000 miles from the launch site.

But in a statement released Friday night, DARPA said that while “the launch vehicle executed first-of-its-kind energy management maneuvers, clamshell payload fairing release and HTV-2 deployment,” all wasn't perfect with the superfast craft. “Approximately 9 minutes into the mission, telemetry assets experienced a loss of signal from the HTV-2. An engineering team is reviewing available data to understand this event.”

The DARPA press release did not specify whether any of the test maneuvers were completed by the Lockheed Martin built craft before controllers lost communications with the craft, the site adds.

Uncovered by the incomparable flateric on secretprojects.co.uk, this graphic from a December presentation by DARPA Tactical Technology Office director David Nyland suggests contact with the HTV-2 (on the yellow Mission A line) was lost somewhere between beginning reentry and starting its hypersonic glide.

Investigation of the telemetry failure is under way. But the question now is what this means for the second HTV-2 flight (red Mission B line above). This is intended to demonstrate the cross-range capability provided by the vehicle's hypersonic aerodynamic efficiency - and key to a prompt global strike weapon - involving sustained maneuvers beyond the simple S-turns planned for the first flight. It's more likely the second flight will have to be a repeat of the first.

  1. YouTube - Lockheed Falcon unmanned aircraft
  2. DARPA Falcon Project - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. File:Speed is Life HTV-2 Reentry New.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  4. PUB_HTV_Progression_DARPA_2008_lg.jpg (JPEG Image, 1125x844 pixels) - Scaled (67%)
  5. YouTube - DARPA Falcon hypersonic X-plane - part 1
  6. YouTube - DARPA Falcon hypersonic X-plane - part 2
  7. DARPA - Tactical Technology Office (TTO)
  8. Pentagon’s Mach 20 Glider Disappears, Whacking ‘Global Strike’ Plans | Danger Room | Wired.com
  9. FOXNews.com - Military's Hypersonic Falcon Missile Test a Dud?
  10. DARPA's HTV-2 Didn't Phone Home

  1. Hypersonic Test Vehicle Falcon goes missing on test flight, DARPA admits
  2. Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | New Minotaur rocket launches on suborbital flight
  3. AFP: US hypersonic glider flunks first test flight