Darpa Hypersonic Glider
Published: April 23, 2012
Darpa Hypersonic Glider, The U.S. Department of Defense has finally figured out why the DARPA hypersonic glider aborted its 13,000, mph flight over the Pacific Ocean in August 2011: shell degradation.
The Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 aborted its mission after large sections of its spin peeled off, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency found.
Extremely high temperatures seemed to be the culprit, but an independent engineering review board found that the most likely probably cause was “unexpected aeroshell degradation, creating multiple upsets of increasing severity that ultimately activated the Flight Safety System,” according to a statement released about its findings.
Nine minutes into the test flight, the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 experienced a series of shocks culminating in an anomaly, causing the vehicle to roll, but it was able to correct itself multiple times. Yet the disturbances proved too much for the vehicle to bear and it crashed into the ocean.
“The initial shockwave disturbances experienced during second flight, from which the vehicle was able to recover and continue controlled flight, exceeded by more than 100 times what the vehicle was designed to withstand,” said DARPA Acting Director, Kaigham J. Gabriel according to the press release. “That’s a major validation that we’re advancing our understanding of aerodynamic control for hypersonic flight.”
The Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 achieved March 20, or flight speeds 20 times the speed of sound, for three minutes before it fell to the ocean.
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