DARPA’s Mach 20 Hypersonic Glider: The OTHER top secret military space vehicle launched this week

April 24, 2010
By Tracy R Twyman

Future space marines might commemorate yesterday as a historic moment, based on the coinciding launches of DARPA’s hypersonic glider and an Air Force space plane. Both test vehicles could pave the way for new warfighter transports or weapons systems, the Ares Defense Blog reports.

DARPA’s HTV-2 was first into the air, around 7 pm EDT. The hypersonic vehicle is designed to glide through the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds 20 times greater than the speed of sound. The Santa Maria Times notes that several maneuvers were scheduled to test how HTV-2 handles during the hypersonic glide stage, before hurtling into the Pacific Ocean at more than 13,000 mph for a planned demise.

A future hypersonic platform could theoretically deliver precision strikes to targets around the world with “little or no advanced warning,” as DARPA puts it. A second test is planned for 2011, based on the success of yesterday’s sortie.

Space marines! That sounds so cool. I can wait til the video game comes out.

DARPA’s Mach 20 Hypersonic Glider and Air Force’s X-37B Space Plane Make Their Debuts | Popular Science.

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