DARPA’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) program is a multiyear research and development effort to increase the technical knowledge base and advance critical technologies to make long-duration hypersonic flight a reality.
Data from the program informs policy, acquisition, and operations decisions for future Department of Defense Conventional Prompt Global Strike programs. Hypersonic data is collected through extensive modeling and simulation, wind-tunnel testing and two experimental flight tests. The ultimate goal is a capability that can reach anywhere in the world in less than an hour.
Falcon HTV-2 is an unmanned, rocket-launched, maneuverable aircraft that glides through the Earth’s atmosphere at incredibly fast speeds—Mach 20 (approximately 13,000 miles per hour). At HTV-2 speeds, flight time between New York City and Los Angeles would be less than 12 minutes. The HTV-2 vehicle is a “data truck” with numerous sensors that collect data in an uncertain operating envelope.
Mastery of three key technical challenges stands between the DoD and long-duration hypersonic flight: Aerodynamics; Aerothermal effects; and critical guidance, navigation and control.
HTV-2 flew its maiden flight on 22 Apr 2010, collecting nine minutes of unique flight data, including 139 seconds of Mach 22 to Mach 17 aerodynamic data.
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