Good they sent it after the London riots, or else *some* might think that was what cause all them fires...
Whether or not the truth is out there somewhere, a couple of American hypersonic aircraft certainly are. A little over a year after DARPA (motto: "Creating and preventing strategic surprise") lost the wow-that’s-fast Falcon HTV-2 on its first test flight, it’s managed to replicate the experiment perfectly, losing the second …
Is as soft as landing on a rock. A parachute wouldn't get you much luck either. To be fair, DARPA don't expect to recover these test vehicles, they just hope to keep them flying a bit longer. Somewhere near North Korea where the 'self-destruct' can do its business, for instance.
Isn't flying an aircraft at, or around, mach 20 for 9 minutes a reasonably good achievement? I don't get the title being so negative. My claims to fame today are not quite so impressive, although I did manage to not drink as much coffee as yesterday which I'm pleased about.
That's what I thought when I heard about this on the news this morning. The reporter suggested that as this is the second one they've lost then surely the project should be scrapped.
When you are pushing boundaries like this then surely it will take some substantial RandD efforts to get there.
(Unless it was abducted by little green men trying to stop us going too fast....)
My impression was that they didn't manage to "fly" it at all, and that was the problem. It sounds like the "flight-path" in question (the one that was planned to intersect with the ocean) was more of a trajectory, in the ballistic sense. And that's much less impressive.
Its similar speeds to the shuttle. Which they've been flying more or less successfully for 30 odd years. I guess the main difference here is that they dont want it to slow down. Thats the difficult bit.
As for Major Chris Schultz saying, "Were confident there is a solution," thats just cock waving. If he said anything else his funding would be cut.
Im not so sure that there is a defined problem, let alone a solution. Don't get me wrong, Im all for space exploration and tech funding, but DARPA just seem to be and out of control money burning operation.
Sounds like a total success. Zooms around at 13,000 mph for a while then lands somewhere. They want to be able to kill people at any location on the globe within an hour and this will do it. (What's that you said? - oh - you meant a *specific* any location on the globe - nah, don't worry about it. Dropping bombs on the wrong country doesn't usually worry the Merkin military. Bring on that pork barrel!)
It reminds me of the problem the Spacing Guild had with trying to navigate their huge ships through folded space. There were so many variables and the reaction times needed were astronomically fast - far beyond those of a human. As we lack melange on this planet, perhaps an entirely computer controlled system would be able to make the minute and fast navigation adjustments needed.
I don't know about hardware engineering, but in the basis of scientific research *is* prediction. If your experiment is that unpredictable, then it's probably not very good science. Science generally deals in very small, but very accurate increments in the amount of knowledge that we have. There are very few paradigm shifts, or giant leaps.
Admittedly in some cases the extrapolations used to make the prediction are wildly wrong, and some experiments suffer from lots of unknown variables, but this does not change the fact that scientific research relies on proving or disproving a prediction made with as much prior information as possible.
I'm not saying that this DARPA experiment is bad science either, just refuting the idea that research deals with the unpredictable.
"If your experiment is that unpredictable, then it's probably not very good science."
Make a 0.1% adjustment involving aerodynamics at 13,000km/h, and your results get unpredictable very fast. Good science doesn't mean that failing the first time tells you everything you need to know to succeed the second time.
Postulate a hypothesis
Generate possible experiments to test the validity of the hypothesis
Run the experiments
Measure the results
Reject or adapt the hypothesis based on the results.
The interesting part is that the results are not actually 100% predictable; a working scientific theory is simply a hypothesis that has not yet met a negative result. This DARPA experiment is entirely scientific, as it is attempting to experimentally verify the hypothetical behaviour of a particular design of craft at extremely high speeds. They've made a prediction of its behaviour based on their hypothesis of how this particular design might behave, and the prediction has... well, failed. But that's good science, as it has provided a large amount of empirical data to refine their hypothesis (in this case, the design of the craft) and update their predictions.
You mentioned prior information. Where did that prior information come from? The only place it can have come from is experimentation, and given that this project is dealing with a field that is still largely hypothetical, they have to make these grand experiments to provide the necessary data to make their predictions with.
Compare and contrast this current attempt at high speed flight with the first attempts to fly faster than the speed of sound. How long did that take, how many attempts, how much money, how many pilots died?
I am not convinced that the Space Shuttle can be used as a valid comparison, it is a glider not a powered aircraft and relies on an orbital manoeuvring system for control for most of its flight. The only time it it is hypersonic is during orbit, where aerodynamics are irrelevant and during the first part of its decent, when it is trying to shed speed as quickly as possible in the upper atmosphere.
I agree it's research.
This is a glider, it was rocket boosted to altitude and 13,000mph, then set free.
True, the shuttle does have a mass ejection reaction control system, but there are no real details on the control system this is using.
This was in the upper atmosphere, otherwise it would have vaporised.
This is a research program looking at (at least) 2 things:
1. Thermal control (Can we fly something at this speed and not be destroyed by heat)
2. Hypersonic flight controls.
The shuttle is probably a falling brick until a certain altitude and velocity.
I heard (more than once) that the Shuttle was basically a brick with wings, nevertheless. And the nose cone (can you call it a cone?) is as blunt as possible (like the apolo capsule), so it can withstand as much friction and heat as possible, and displace as much atmosphere as possible, so creating the braking effect of a parachute. A mach-20 parachute.
Now that's a counter-intuitive notion, (the nose being blunt), but it makes total sense since the Apolo capsule landings proved it correct...
Yes, I saw the movie Space Cowboys, but that was just *one* of the sources.
BBC Version: [US military scientists lost contact with an unmanned hypersonic experimental aircraft on its second test flight, officials said.
The Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) successfully separated from its rocket but lost contact shortly into its "glide phase".] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14497641
Come the revolution, all Aunties journo's are hereby fired.
"The US Air Force is hoping that it can develop the high-speed platform as a “global strike” capability that could reach any location on the planet within a few minutes."
Given that it's a year since the last trial and they lost that as well, suggesting they can develop this high speed platform within a few minutes seems a trifle ambitious.
They just aren't sure which location.
You would think that with 100% loss results after two tests that you might think in this day & age that DARPA would have a clue as to what is going wrong, or that the design is a bit stuffed.
Oh, sorry, I forgot, it's DARPA.
More like DERPA
4th launch. Success.
Mind you I'd hoped for a bit of an improvement and some "Lessons learned" being applied.
And some would argue that flying M20 *inside* the atmosphere is *lots* harder than just getting to orbit It's like all the problems of re-entry *continuously*.
Better luck next time?.
Another alien craft has appeared out of nowhere travelling at a speed faster than is thought to be possible.
It was witnessed by passengers in a zepplin who commented "it seemed to do a barell roll followed by a loop the loop leaving a trail of flames in its wake.
It then deployed some sort of large gravity arresting device believed to me made from a very light and strong fabric of some discription and was suspended beneath it before touching down in the ocean.
The Defence Against Research Proliferation Agency is investigating.
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